Ashtabula salutes veterans

Nov. 11—ASHTABULA — A heartfelt prayer, a patriotic speech, lots of umbrellas and pouring rain filled Veterans Memorial Park Friday as Ashtabula marked Veterans Day.

Despite the inclement weather, about 25 people gathered at 11 a.m. to honor veterans.

Vietnam veteran Monte Foltz, who also serves as park director, welcomed everyone who turned out for the event.

"I thank all of you for coming," he said. "You can't cancel Veterans Day and I appreciate everyone who did show up."

The Rev. Len Jury of American Legion Post 103 provided the opening prayer, asking God to "bless and protect our nation ... This day is for veterans, both living and those who gave the ultimate sacrifice."

The American Legion Post 103 posted the colors.

Retired Army Sgt. Major Mel Hanna served as guest speaker.

Reflecting on his 35 years of service, Hanna reminded everyone of the old Army saying, "If it's not raining, you are not training."

He gave a special thank you to the veterans who were present.

"It's truly an honor to be here," he said. "You guys set the path for me."

When he finished, Foltz said, "Well done. You kept it short and sweet."

Jury offered a closing prayer, asking everyone to "continue to remember those who came before us."

Unlike Memorial Day, Veterans Day pays tribute to all American veterans, especially giving thanks to living veterans who served their country honorably.

Late Friday afternoon, the Ashtabula Elks Club, 3115 Lake Road West, hosted a free dinner for veterans and active military living in Ashtabula County in honor of their service.