POMEROY, Ohio — “Today is a time of remembrance, a time to express gratitude and appreciation for the sacrifices our veterans have made,” Army Chaplain Lieutenant Colonel Mark Mitera began. “Their service has ensured our safety and freedom.”
He said the seven Army Values, loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage can be summed up by the words Jesus spoke, “Love one another as I have loved you.”
“As an Army Chaplain, I encourage people to remember the ways of God and put them into practice, to always strive to do the right thing, to walk in love, to meet one another’s needs, to not just say the words, but to put love into action.”
Examples of the application of this philosophy include looking for an opportunity to extend love by a kind word, helping someone out physically or financially, or to honor a veteran in need.
Mitera said while ministering in a Baghdad emergency room, he witnessed the love the staff had for their patients, and their emotional response when they lost one of them.
“The love the staff had for their patients was apparent,” he said. “I saw the lengths the doctors and nurses took to save the life of a soldier injured in a roadside bomb, and when they couldn’t save him, I saw the tears they shed as that soldier passed. That was love in action.”
Mitera was on active-duty service for a total of 26 years, and spent another seven years in the Army reserves. During his time of active duty, he served in the United States Air Force from January 1983 to July 1988 as an Air Force architect. Mitera was also a rifle instructor. After becoming a chaplain, he served in Bagdad, and spent two years ministering at the United States Disciplinary Barracks in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
He is now the pastor of three United Methodist Churches, Carmel Sutton, Bethany, and Morning Star, in Racine, Ohio. Chaplain Mitera continues to council veterans and encourages any who is suffering to reach out to him.
The Veterans Day tribute included a welcome by Post 39 Commander John Hood, and a recognition of veterans and active-duty service members in attendance.
Jerry Fredrick read the poem “The Ragged Old Flag”, and Joann Newsome continued Post 39’s tradition of reading “In Flanders Fields” during their Veteran ceremonies.
Southern Local High School Marching Band, under the direction of Chad Dodson, performed musical scores that included “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “The Armed Forces Medley”, a collection of the U.S. military official marchpasts/songs.
The ceremony concluded with a traditional gun salute, the playing of TAPS, and a closing prayer.
The history of the tattered flag hanging onstage during today’s service can be found in a previous article: https://www.mydailysentinel.com/news/64202/the-ragged-old-flag.
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