BY NANCY GAGNET | MIRROR REPORTER — For 96-year-old George Snyder, Memorial Day is meant to honor the brave men and women in uniform who have died for our freedom.
The World War II veteran was on hand for the Memorial Day parade and the ceremony that subsequently followed.
“This is wonderful. This is really super-duper. I really appreciate this,” he said.
Snyder was part of a mortar squad in the U.S. Army in Italy, where he earned three Bronze Stars in what he describes as three horrible battles he endured.
“I was in the hospital recovering from yellow jaundice when the fellow who took my place in the foxhole was killed when a shell came in,” he said. “It made me cry.”
Even today, describing the memory still brings tears to his eyes. After serving three years, two of which he spent in a foxhole, Snyder returned to Maumee where he enjoyed raising his family and a career as a tool and die maker.
Snyder was one of many veterans on hand for Monday’s events.
Beautiful blue skies and pleasant temperatures provided a picture-perfect backdrop for the annual parade in uptown Maumee. More than 25 organizations participated in this year’s event, including marching bands from Maumee High School and Toledo Christian Schools as well as American Legion Riders from Maumee Post 320, the Northern Light Lodge, members of local Scout troops and the Maumee Fire Division.
The ceremony honoring Maumee’s war dead took place at Union School Memorial Park. It included patriotic music performed by the Maumee Community Band, special prayers offered for those lost and special wreaths that were placed in honor of the fallen soldiers.
“May the ceremonies of today deepen our reverence for our dead,” said Ken Buckland, commander of American Legion Post 320. “Let us renew our pledge of loyalty to our country and its flag. Let us resolve by words and deed to emphasize the privilege of duty and patriotism.”
Maumee Mayor Richard Carr also spoke at the event.
“In a few moments, we will hear the names of every man from the city of Maumee who left their house, their family, their friends and our city to never return, making the ultimate sacrifice for their country and for our country. They are the heroes,” Carr said.
He also implored those in attendance to remember and honor those who continue to sacrifice for our freedom.
“Our veterans are a reminder to us that America is the land of the free only because we are the home of the brave,” said Carr. “Thank you to all of our veterans and may God continue to bless the city of Maumee and may God bless America.”