The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

November 12, 2013

Military veterans honored at events across the county



More than 30 people gathered at the George Call American Legion Post 124 to remember those who have served their country; and some whom never came home.

Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O’Neill came home to share his thoughts on three generations of military service.

“My father (Howard O’Neill) was a real liberal. He gave me the choice of which service to join,” O’Neill said with a laugh while sharing the story of how he joined the Vietnam-era Army in 1967. He eventually served a year in Vietnam and returned to the United States where he became a lawyer, elected official and eventually a justice.

O’Neill reflected on his father’s experience as an airman in 1942. “The first time I saw the Atlantic Ocean they asked me to fly over it,” O’Neill said, quoting his father  as he prepared to fly from Florida to Europe.

He said his father participated in the attack on the Polesti oil fields in 1943 and Bill O’Neill’s son eventually joined the same unit.

Geneva attorney Tom Brown, whose father and children are veterans with experience on the war front, introduced his long-time friend.

“Bill and I actually met in 1967. We took a road trip to Fort Benning for basic training,” he said of the trip the ROTC officers experienced after college at Ohio University.

O’Neill said the “citizen soldier” has been an integral part of the American experience from the Battle of Lexington, to Inchon to Afghanistan.

“Ordinary people doing extraordinary things in defense of their country,” he said of the attitude that has kept our nation free.

In April of 1775 there was a bit of skirmish at Lexington, MA., that O’Neill said changed the course of history. “In an instant they were transformed into Revolutionary War Soldiers,” he said.

After the ceremony an honor squad fired a volley of shots and several trumpeters played “Taps” as people gathered on the steps of the post.

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