Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Tears fall in war tribute

Gold Star & Blue Star Mothers gather for ceremony at site of monument
By Betty Lin-Fisher Beacon Journal staff writer
Published on Monday, Nov 12, 2007
Gabriela Simon, of North Canton, reads off names of Ohio Iraq
Coalition causalities during the veterans Day memorial service at the Ohio
Vietnam Veterans' Memorial Park, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2007, in Clinton, Ohio. Simon
is a member of the Blue Star Mothers organization and her son Michael is a
Captain in the Marines. (Gavin Jackson/Akron Beacon Journal)
CLINTON: As the names of 181 Ohioans killed in Iraq were read Sunday afternoon during a Veterans Day service, Donna Kuglics stood among a crowd of umbrellas and wept.
The pain of losing her son, Air Force Staff Sgt. Matthew Joseph Kuglics, was still evident. Kuglics died June 5 of wounds suffered when his vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb.
Kuglics, 25, was a 2000 graduate of Green High School.
Donna Kuglics was among the Gold Star Mothers — women who have lost a son or daughter in service to the country — who gathered for a remembrance at the spot that will be the Ohio Vietnam Veterans' Memorial Park in Clinton.
About 80 people stood in the grassy cemetery in the sometimes heavy rain to paytribute to the veterans.
Joining the Gold Star Mothers were the Blue Star Mothers, whose children are serving or have served in the military.
Kuglics had planned to participate with the other mothers in the reading of the 181 soldiers killed in action. But she was suffering from laryngitis, so her husband, Les, read the names of some of the war dead in her place.
''It's a hard day, but also a good day because people haven't forgotten,'' Donna Kuglics said.
Kuglics said the camaraderie of the Gold Star Mothers has helped her through the difficult time following her son's death.
''You don't have to explain to them,'' she said.
Les Kuglics said military families who have lost sons or daughters have a common bond. ''We can relate to each other,'' he said. ''The general public thinks we mourn for a month and go on.''
Some of the mothers in the group are coming up on the second and third anniversaries of their child's death, and are able to give advice on coping, Donna Kuglics said.
During the service, the names of each of the 181 Ohioans killed in Iraq were read, followed by the toll of a small bell.
Several politicians were in attendance, including Summit County Executive Russ Pry, U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton, D-Copley, and state Rep. Stephen Dyer, D-Green.
The service was to have included an excavation of the foundation for the permanent, 125-foot-long granite monument that will bear the names of the 3,095 Ohioans who died in the Vietnam War, but organizers dug the hole before the ceremony because of the inclement weather.
Though the name of the park, which will be created on land owned by the Clinton Cemetery Association, is the Ohio Vietnam Veterans' Memorial Park, it will be for all veterans, said Julie Kline, secretary of the Ohio Vietnam Veterans' Memorial Park Committee. The park is to be completed by 2009.
Honoring all veterans is important, said Kris Dervin, a member of the Canton-Akron Blue Star Mothers.
''We can't forget. We have to honor the veterans here and in the past,'' said Dervin, whose daughter, Stacy is a member of the Ohio National Guard. ''They give up a part of their life.''
Betty Lin-Fisher can be reached at330-996-3724 or blinfisher@thebeaconjournal.com.

No comments: