COVID-or-not – it felt imperative to somehow have a Memorial Day Service in Loveland
by David Miller
Monday marks the nation’s most significant holiday, so it should not go without remembrance. For many, it’s quite sobering and you may want to think twice about saying, “Happy Memorial Day” if you want to avoid blank awkward stares.
Traditionally the area has annual gatherings with speeches given on the stage of the Loveland Veterans’ Memorial or at the monument at Veterans’ Memorial Plaza in Home of the Brave Park, however because of COVID 19 and an Ohio ban of large gatherings the annual Memorial Day ceremonies were canceled this year. Before the Loveland Memorial was built in the West Loveland Historic District the event was held on the lawn in front of the Loveland Elementary School.
Given the National Holiday’s significance, because without the ultimate, life-giving sacrifice of young men and women there would be no other holidays celebrated in this country, including Independence Day, Christmas, Easter, or Labor Day, it felt imperative to somehow have a Memorial Day observance non-the-less, COVID-or-not.
I didn’t do too much head-scratching before I remembered Ryan Linday’s Memorial Day address in 2017 because it was a very good one – the best one of my recollection. Ryan is a “third-generation Veteran” and his uncle died in Vietnam. Ryan quickly agreed to record a message and brought Steve Bow to play taps.
I also remembered young Paul Laufersweiler the eighth-grade student from St. Columban School who read a speech at last November’s Veterans Day service in Loveland, The service is put on by students who walk from their school to the Veterans’ Memorial each fall to lay wreaths and honor current and past veterans. So, I contacted his mom Stephanie who I also met that day and asked her if Paul would like to record a speech for this year’s Memorial Day. Almost immediately she responded, “Just tell us where to meet you.”
Much of the morning that Ryan, Steve, and I spent while at the Chapel at Union Cemetery in Symmes Township centered around a conversation about how many more Veterans in recent years have died by suicide than in battlefield combat. Truthfully, it was Steve and Ryan doing the lamenting with me just listening. They remembered those lives with sobriety and respect for their pain and suffering, their endless dark days, and the families in these recent years who lost their Veteran but never received a Gold Star to put in the home’s window.
To those numerous families in Loveland I want you to know that the loss of these young souls and your pain was memorialized with quiet somber reflection at our three-person Memorial Day service at the cemetery yesterday.
Monday, Ryan and Steve will visit other local cemeteries and return to Union Cemetery to lay wreaths and Steve will play Taps to honor the greatest of our community’s heroes – including yours.
When I was with Paul and his mom on Friday to record Paul’s speech we didn’t chat about such somber subjects – I don’t have those things in common with the young man. Our conversation was about Paul’s promising future and his dreams. I believe we all have a responsibility to Paul to turn them into reality. Thank you Paul for recognizing at such a young age who it was that came before you who allows the possibility of your aspirations.
Let’s make a mission statement after hearing Paul’s last sentence of his speech – to make it so for him and all of our children. To make is so for all the Gold Star Families and those who did not receive the Gold Star but deserve it as much as anyone.
We really must make Paul a promise that we will make this country and community live up to the promise now laid at our feet, by so many lost lives who held the same dreams and potential as he has.
Meet Paul Laufersweiler
Paul just graduated from eighth grade at St. Columban school and will be attending Loveland High School in the Fall. He has already successfully auditioned to be in the marching and symphonic bands. He has two sisters, Emily still attending St. Columban as a sixth-grader and Amy who will be a junior at LHS who is in the Show Choir.
Paul said he is interested in studying science, however, he is also really interested in learning more about communicating so he might be taking those courses as well.
“When I was really little I wanted to be a pizza pilot where I would fly around in a plane and drop down pizzas to people.” I asked him if he would throw them like frisbees and he said, “Yes, I’ll get a thin crust, real crispy, so they won’t flop around.”
Paul was the student council President at St. Columban this year. Annually they raise money for school supplies for St. Julie School in Uganda, but because of COVID 19 they were not able to complete all of their fundraising activities. At the urging of his little sister Emily, they decided the canceled Walk-A-Thon should still take place, but by the students walking in their own neighborhoods. This photo (right) provided by his mom is Paul opening donations and notes from St. Columban families who contributed to the “Virtual” Walk-A-Thon. In the end, they raised $1,000.
Meet Ryan Lindsay
Meet Ryan Lindsay
Ryan is a lifelong Loveland resident and 1994 Graduate of LSH. He enlisted the Army right out os high school and served until 1998. Since, he has been a self-described “civilian-slave for the system.” Ryan told me, “Im proud to be a resident and citizen of the City.” For the past 15 years he has been an office manager for a heating and cooling company.
When I asked Ryan what he plans on doing with the rest of his life he said, ”Work, and then do lots of fun things when we are again allowed to do them. I go to Indy car races, sport car races, and concerts.”
I asked him if he ever raced and he said laughing, “No, that’s a rich man’s sport and I want to keep my money for when I retire. I know I would like it so much but I know how much it costs so I would probably bankrupt myself. It’s funner to watch somebody else spend that money so I’d rather watch ‘em do it. do it and that way if there’s a wreck I won’t have a bill to pay or anything like that.” He said he would probably try out a “Driving School” in a professional setting just to try it out to see how his skills stack up. “I would love to race cars, but then you see the price tag.”
He did race bicycles from the late nineties until 2012. “I kinda got too old and too busy with work to keep doing that. I did travel all over the country and would still like to do it but there isn’t enough time now to train and keep fit.”
Ryan will spend his Memorial Day with other veterans making their annual pilgrimage to local cemeteries, praying, and laying wreaths.
Meet Steve Bow
Steve has lived in Loveland since 2012 and has played the trumpet for 41 years. He is a technical specialist with a German company and works from home doing quality control and business and sales development. He does travel to South Carolina and Tennessee to consult with large companies such as Volvo and Volkswagen about quality and technical problems.
Steve was born in 1967 and grew up in Texas. His dad was an engineer for Dow Chemical for “the better part of 40 years.” The family moved to Columbus in 1980. He graduated from Ohio State in 1990 with a degree in metallurgical engineering and he’s been in the steel industry for a little going on 21 years. Steve’s father, Kenneth E. Bow, is a retired Army, Lt Col.
“I consider myself an Ohioan because I was in seventh grade when I first lived here,” Steve said. He attended OSU for five years and was in the marching band for four playing trumpet and in the “S Row” on the field.
Steve is the Assistant State Director, SW/NW Ohio District of Bugles Across America, an all-volunteer Taps organization. Bugles Across America (BAA) offers live/real bugle/trumpet players to sound Taps at Veterans funerals and events so the electronic device can be avoided. Steve has sounded Taps for around 300 “Missions” despite having a full-time job.
Recently, Steve has sounded Taps in Normandy in 2015, Arlington National Cemetery in 2013 and 2016, the D-Day Memorial in Bedford, VA, and various other Veterans events, including participating in a Full Honors funeral with the US Army and last year he played at Dayton National Cemetery.
In 2018, Steve and his daughter Claudia, a Music Ed major at NKU, sounded echo taps at the Normandy American Cemetery. They have also sounded Taps on Omaha Beach.
Steve said, “In addition to my full-time job and the BAA, I also own an art business on the side where I paint Military aircraft nose art from WW2 and aircraft insignia art on aluminum panels to replicate the originals.” He has shipped his artwork to clients around the world. “I also do leather jackets and I have been painting since 2012. My company is STB Aviation Art LLC.”
Steve will spend his Memorial Day with other veterans making their annual pilgrimage to local cemeteries, praying, and laying wreaths, and of course Steve will sound Taps.