Last updated: August 25. 2013 8:50AM - 228 Views

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   LIMA — It’s just a simple plaque, about 2 feet of brass and laminate etched with some dates and the name of Staff Sgt. Zachary Wobler. But to the soldier’s family, and to the men and women who will work around the plaque every day, it’s a giant reminder of the sacrifices made in their name.    Workers from the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center were joined Monday by U.S. Rep. Michael Oxley, R-Findlay, and Gen. Benjamin S. Griffin in a ceremony dedicating the plaque to the fallen soldier. Oxley praised the Ottawa-Glandorf graduate’s service to the country.    “He was a courageous young man,” Oxley said. “We’re all humbled to be able to recognize his sacrifice.”    Griffin, commanding general of the U.S. Army Materiel Command, said the plaque should remind everyone of the things for which Wobler stood.    “Today we recognize an American soldier, a truly great American soldier, a hero,” Griffin said.    Wobler died Feb. 6 during a firefight in Mosul, Iraq, where he was an Army scout leader with the 2nd Brigade, 325th Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division. He was 24 years old and the fourth area man to die in the war.    Wobler’s family attended the dedication, including his father, Tony, who has been vocal in his opposition to the way the Bush administration has managed the war. He thanked the crowd for the honor and for their dedication to the soldiers, but later voiced his frustration with the way his son died.    “We have the highest praise for the United States Army and these people building these tanks to help defend this country,” Wobler said. “But we also have a responsibility that we don’t go to battle in wars unless they’re justified.”    Wobler said his son believed strongly in the principles of freedom, a principle he’s not certain the Iraqi people understand.    “I’m not sure at this time, they share the same values. We have shown that we are ready to fight for their freedom, but until they fight for that freedom themselves, it will never last,” Wobler said. “Our political leaders need to figure that out, admit their mistakes and let the military professionals do what needs to be done.”    Growing up in Putnam County, Zachary Wobler was taught to believe in freedom, faith and a sense of responsibility for others. His father worries that the young men growing up in Iraq are learning a different set of values.    “They are taught hate. They are taught that to die in battle guarantees them a space in heaven. That’s hard to understand in a civilized country,” Wobler said.” And to those insurgents that drove by and shot my son, they breed nothing but hate and they can go to hell.”    As angry as he is with the men who killed his son, Wobler knows his son loved the military, and would have appreciated the honor.    “He was very proud to be a soldier, he said. “If my son were here today he’d be very proud of the way the people in Northwest Ohio have treated all of us.”

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