LIMA — Freedom isn’t free. How many times have we heard that phrase? Regardless, there have been men and women who have fought for our country. Some never came back, others were wounded both physically and emotionally.
On Veterans Day we remember those who served.
In Lima, a small group gathered at the Veterans Freedom Flag Monument to remember the sacrifice that was made to keep our country free.
“We’re celebrating the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. One hundred seventeen thousand American soldiers died over there and it really changed the world. We want to make sure we honor them. Of course, we come out here every year to do what we do to honor all veterans, but this is a special year. This is the year that ended that war that was supposed to end all wars. As we know, that didn’t happen, but we want to pay a special tribute, a special salute to those soldiers that went over there and never came home — and they’re still over there to this day, laying in their graves throughout Europe,” said Greg Gebolys, chairman of the Veterans Freedom Flag Monument Foundation, Inc.
As you might expect, no World War I veterans are alive today, and Gebolys wants people to know about their sacrifices.
“They came up to the bench, they came up and sacrificed their lives. A lot of them came home and they weren’t the same as when they left. There are people that just died as little as six years ago that were World War I veterans, and it’s amazing that people forget. We want to make sure no one ever forgets. By doing what we do here today, we make sure that those veterans and those people that served our country for our freedoms are never, ever forgotten,” said Gebolys.
As part of a written program that was handed out Sunday, it recounted the cost of World War I.
“From the first gunshot fired in anger in 1914 to the 11th hour of the 11th day on the 11th month in 1918, the Great War took its toll on human life. Of the 65 million men who fought in World War I:
• 8 million men were killed in battle.
• 2 million died of illness and disease.
• 21.2 million were wounded.
• 7.8 million were taken prisoner or went missing in action.
• 6.8 million civilians were also killed.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.