Berlin Center honors veterans with banners - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Berlin Center honors veterans with banners

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BERLIN CENTER, Ohio -

If you drive through Berlin Center this summer, you will see a community making sure you know the meaning behind Memorial Day. Banners line the street downtown with pictures of local military members, both past and present.

Jeff Goddard and his wife first got the idea while driving through Pittsburgh.

"It puts a face on the veterans," said Goddard. "Not only the people driving through town, but the young people. It makes them stop and think for just a few minutes, if that's all it is."

It's part of the Troop Banners program - popular in Pennsylvania - but almost unknown in Ohio until the township historical society decided to jump on board.

"That's our mission statement is to preserve our local history. We thought it would be a great way to do that and also to honor our veterans, so it was just a natural for us, something we wanted to do and be involved in," said historical society president Jeff Craig.

Like a lot of towns, Berlin sent more than its share of men and women off to war. Some of them never came back. So when the banners went up a couple weeks ago, it was an emotional experience for a lot of people involved.

"It just honors all the veterans that were killed in all the wars. It's just a great thing, to be able to be honored," said veteran Larry Truitt.

"They were willing to give their lives up for our country. There's no greater sacrifice, I don't think, to lay your life down for someone. I think once a year, that's the least we can do," said Craig.

As of right now, there are about two dozen banners lining the street in Berlin Center, but the historical society says there's room for a whole lot more, with many more veterans they'd like to see honored.

"There was 25 more or 30 more that's signing up for it. So we'll have the whole town lined with them pretty soon," said Truitt.

The banners serve as a constant reminder of the sacrifice and the true meaning of Memorial Day, and the faces that shaped this town and this country.

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