By Pete LuPiba
US Navy and Operation Iraqi Freedom Veteran
With this week’s observation of Veteran’s Day, it is important to reflect on the contributions – and the sacrifices of our military veterans and their families.
A New England pastor by the name of Manasseh Cutler and a group of American Revolutionary War veterans were pivotal in opening up the Northwest Territory to veterans of the Revolution and their families. These settlers did so within the processes and structure established in the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. The Ordinance had three remarkable conditions: freedom of religion, free universal education, and most importantly, the prohibition of slavery.
The settlement began in what is now Marietta, on the northwestern banks of the Ohio River. Marietta was named in honor of Marie Antoinette, then the reigning Queen of France, in recognition of French aid during the American Revolution. Mound Cemetery in Marietta, built around an Adena burial mound, is today the final resting place of the largest number of Revolutionary War officers in the country.
U.S. Sailor Neil Alden Armstrong of Wapakoneta and U.S. Marine John Herschel Glenn of New Concord literally saw the globe from as far away as humankind can travel. Our veterans have been putting Ohio on the map for generations.
I enlisted and served active duty in the United States Navy some 20 years ago. I had the privilege of deploying with Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 11 to Tikrit in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2006. I completed duty in the Armed Forces while attached to the Reserves. Here in Columbus, I served with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 26 at the Navy Operational Support Center in Obetz.
As we near the nation’s 250th anniversary, I think it is remarkable to consider that we have the National Veterans Memorial and Museum right here in Columbus! The National Museum of the US Air Force is located in Ohio – thanks to the vision of the Wright Brothers – and is of massive importance to our state and economy. Ohio boasts countless other military and veteran monuments, landmarks and other resources. One of those resources is personal for me.
I have the great honor of serving as a commissioner on the Thomas D. Rutan State Council of the Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission, representing Ohio and its military families. About five years ago, the Purple Star School Award was established to honor the Buckeye state’s schools and communities that display a major commitment to the military child and their family. This is a Pre-K12 framework in support of American military families and your hometown school can apply for Purple Star today. From the beginning, Gov. Mike DeWine has encouraged this mission to serve the families of those who have served their nation. Governor DeWine has dedicated direct resources via Ohio Cares to those families of service members. I am so excited that the nation now hosts 43 Purple Star States!
Ohio has more recently taken Purple Star to new heights! The Collegiate Purple Star Award (CPSA) recognizes those public and independent colleges, universities in Ohio that are supportive and inclusive of their military connected students, staff, and faculty. The CPSA was launched this year at Purple Star High School, Hilliard Davidson.
When a service member retires or completes their US Department of Defense contract – often they return home to Ohio. Welcome home to Ohio, 700,000 Veterans! Ohio ranks fifth out of the 50 States for its veteran population. Veterans: You are still in need as a volunteer in our communities.
Happy Veterans Day to one and all!
Pete LuPiba is an alumnus of The Ohio State University and the University of Southern California. His wife, Jennifer (Bowling Green State University and Ashland University), is a software technology evangelist. They have five children: Sally, Corazon, Lincoln, Grant, and Washington. …yes, Lincoln, Grant and Washington are historians in the making! Pete will be inducted into the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame November 29, 2022. Congratulations to Pete!