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Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

Vets urged to speak about service to the nation

By William Kincaid

Flags representing living and deceased veterans fill Kozy Kamp Ground's Field of. . .

CELINA - Retired U.S. Army 1st Sgt. Paul Joseph gave a new mission to a group of veterans gathered for an early Memorial Day service Sunday at Kozy Kamp Ground.
"Your job is not finished," Joseph said at the Kozy Field of Glory, a grassy area filled with American flags honoring living and deceased servicemen and women. "It's not over. Take a look around you and see all these young people around you as well. They need to know what you have done in your service. They need to know what it means to serve with duty and honor for your country, whether you were in a conflict or not, it does not matter. If you served one day, and no matter what your job was, it's vitally important."
  Joseph, the head postmaster in Celina, said his own son is serving in Saudi Arabia.
"He believes in his mission as did his father, as did his brother, as well as did my father and my grandfather," Joseph said. "As did my great-great-grandfather who served in the Second Ohio Militia in the Civil War. When he was released, he was given $25 for his four years of service and a used horse. That was his payment."
Joseph said a movement is afoot to change American history. While reviewing a seventh-grade history textbook, he found that only one, four-sentence paragraph was written about the Vietnam War.
"Excuse me for being so bold, but I believe that 58,000 names on a wall in Washington, D.C., deserves more than a paragraph in a seventh-grade history textbook. What do you think?" Joseph asked.
Those veterans who have seen the atrocities of war must find the courage and strength to share their stories with young people, he explained.
"For if we don't carry that torch and share that knowledge, who is going to do it? That seventh-grade history book? We cannot allow that to happen," he said.
Joseph said a veteran is someone who raised his or her right hand at one time and said, "I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic." He added the last part of the oath ends in four words that have never been changed: "So help me God."
All branches of the military are equally important, said Joseph, who served in the U.S. Army for 26 years.
"On Jan. 19, 2005, at 5:31 in the morning, as I'm rolling into Baghdad ... we were ambushed, not once, but twice in the same convoy that morning, and we were pinned downed by enemy fire, and we couldn't move because the vehicles were blocking the road with explosions. We called overhead to what they call the sheriff," Joseph said. "Here it was the Ohio National Guard, in fact, that was flying that day ... and within minutes it was the Marine Corps coming up ... in their M1 tanks that saved my tush on that day and got us out of a jam. So I am here to tell you that on the battlefield, there is no one branch better than the other. I can tell you what American blood looks like and it's red. It will always be red. It is what Americans have done for over 200 years."
America needs to find new heroes, he said.
"I've got news for you: You won't find them on Facebook, on Twitter, on TV or otherwise," Joseph said. "Where my heroes are, as well as yours, are right over here on these flags. They're in your hearts. They're in your homes. And you know who they are. Give that tribute to those heroes, which is what Memorial Day is all about."
The campground's Field of Glory featured 155 flags representing living or deceased veterans, according to maintenance manager Kevin Mast.
"Anybody in the campground could honor anybody, either themselves or a family member or a friend, so they're all people that are somehow related to the campground," park manager Sandy Mast added.
The campground was filled to capacity over the weekend with about 4,300 people, most from within a 2-hour radius, Sandy Mast said.
"It's not been like this for five years," she said. "I think part of it is the weather. We've all been locked up all winter. Everybody wants out. And it is a beautiful weekend."
The improved condition of the lake also was credited.
"And I don't care what the EPA says. The lake is bringing them back," Kevin Mast said.
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