Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Monuments, Memorials, and Memory
Community Booster 11-09-03
By Jeff Gill

ON Veterans Day 2003, at 1 pm on Nov. 11, a ceremony will begin at Evans Park on Refugee Road to dedicate a new monument for the Hebron area. The ceremony will close years of work and mark literally centuries of service to the nation, and start a new place of memory for local citizens with nearly 600 names on display.
The story of this memorial begins in many places, and one of these beginnings is back in the older part of the village, near some of the oldest homes in Hebron and hard by the entrance of one of the best-loved landmarks in the area since 1914.
With a swath and scattering of red-gold leaves, a sweetgum tree releases some of the last display of autumn by the main doors of Hebron Elementary, once Hebron High School. Breezes blowing from the southeast drift the leaves across the sidewalk, near the base of a boulder, rounded yet solid and strong.
Brought to this area by glacial forces long ago, put in this particular place by human hands and inset with a bronze plaque, the passing students often pause to glance as they trot by this monument, attracting attention simply by its weighty presence.
If you step near and read, you see seven names, and a reminder that these are Hebron school’s “honored dead,” in Lincoln’s evocative words at Gettysburg.
From the puddles of red at your feet to the red stripes on the American flag overhead, the reminders of sacrifice and loss weave through the idea of newness and hope represented by the youth of this school. The newer elementary school sign, bright with apple red and Lakewood blue, stands out against the “1914 Hebron School” in grey behind.
It was this mix of emotion that motivated the Hebron High School alumni association, who hold a very popular reunion each year for graduates of this predecessor of Lakewood’s school system, to find a way to honor the service of her many alums.
In 1999 they were able to set the marker near the Eighth and Deacon entrance of the Hebron School with the names of the seven graduates who have died in their nation’s service. From William Hammond, who died near Manila in some of the first attacks after Pearl Harbor, through Ralph Penick, Russell Blade, Harold Lees, John Ricketts, Carl Swint, and James Lyons, all lost in wars since 1941, these names had long been known to area residents, but lacked a memorial.
With this responsibility fulfilled, the committee quickly shifted their focus to the wide tradition of service that their school represents. Everyone knew that Hebron and Buckeye Lake, plus the southern half of Union Township, had long produced more than its share of soldiers, sailors, marines, aviators, and coast guards. How many would they number, if they could be tallied? What kind of monument could represent this living service, as well?
Through the early plans for Evans Park and the new municipal complex, a number of proposals and designs were considered. Emil Bogden volunteered architectural services to the committee that began to grow around the nucleus of the first workers, led by Donna Braig and Marian Davis.
The final design will be revealed and seen on Nov. 11 when five vets from the Memorial Committee will unveil the monument together: Homer Poorman, Sherman Clay, Denny Davis, Roland McCullough, and Jim Layton. Tim Byrd, a local contractor, has put in many hours of volunteer service, along with Fred Wright in design assistance.
Around this unveiling will be a program of solemn memory and joyful celebration, including a Honor Guards from the American Legion and VFW, music from the Lakewood Band, and a Pledge of Allegiance by students from today’s Hebron Elementary School.
Proclamations will be read by mayors of both Hebron and Buckeye Lake, and Lakewood superintendent Phil Herman assisted by former school board member Marian Davis will present some very special high school diplomas, to families of those who left school to serve and did not live to return to graduate.
The arrangements for this program and the reception following have been done by members of the committee like Betty McCullough, Annette Price, Ila Mason, Pearl Daubenmire, Betty Spurgeon, Mary Gochenbach, and Rob Springer.
For the last three years and more, the committee has used mailings, the media, and their own contacts in the community to pull together the names of anyone who has spent time in the Hebron school who went on to wear a uniform. These names aren’t easy to find, it turns out, and they hide in their numerousness like trees in a forest.
Fairly quickly, they realized that they would have to limit themselves to students as opposed to all area residents with a service record, and even at that the monument grew to accommodate more than 300, than 400, and on past 500 the honor roll went.
The plaques set for the dedication now number 590 names, and in fact five more names have come in since the foundry put words to metal. Committee members hope to add these five plus additional ones they fully expect will still come in at some future date.
On some future Veterans Day, or a Memorial Day, or perhaps even just some sunny day as the ball fields and playgrounds vibrate with laughter and activity, a new resident of Hebron as yet unborn will walk up a curved walkway, sit on a convenient bench, and lean forward to read some of the names on this monument. Those new memories, not yet formed, will come together because of the service dedicated and the work performed by both the veterans named and the committee’s ongoing efforts.
This memorial shows that memory goes forward as well as backward, as the community remembers a responsibility to future generations, to remind them of where their freedoms arose, to help the future be a place where the seven Gold Star names are still remembered.
And where we commit our efforts both at home and abroad that those gold stars will need no further company.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Hebron Crossroads 11-09-03
By Jeff Gill

Did you see the Aurora Borealis?
Those are not words I ever thought I’d be using in a “Hebron Crossroads” column. But we did indeed have, way down yonder by the 40th parallel, a display of the fabled “northern lights” here across the night sky.
As Beggar’s Night was wrapping up on Oct. 30, for about an hour, a red glow folded into luminous ripples up and down the northern horizon steadily grew in intensity, spreading to the west and building in contrast. . .until it disappeared as suddenly as it sprang out of the heavens.
Some of us, greeting the hordes of trick-or-treaters (311 past our house until we ran out of all candy, cough drops, and sticks of gum), feared that there was a fire downtown. A little walkie-talkie action quickly confirmed that the lights were, like the end of the rainbow, everywhere and nowhere.
When the vast stage curtain effect became clearer, it suddenly hit me. My mom, back in the 50’s, once traveled to Alaska with her college choir, and described this very phenomenon to me when we studied the 49th state in 4th grade. And the internet had carried warnings earlier in the week of a large electromagnetic storm exploding from the surface of the sun that might affect the transmission grid in North America. If a, then b, so must follow c?
Of course, no phenomena in central Ohio have actually happened until Jym Ganahl confirms them, and at 11 pm he delightedly assured his viewers that Lake Erie was not, in fact, on fire, but that we were getting a display of the Aurora Borealis, such as hadn’t been seen ‘round here since long, long ago, and then some.
For sky geeks, Saturday night Nov. 8 is a total lunar eclipse (Jym will have details).

Tuesday is Veterans Day, on the eleventh day of the eleventh month in keeping with the Armistice ending World War I that gave this observance its birth. Many of us will pause at the eleventh hour on that day for a moment of remembrance, and church bells will toll.
A bit after that, at 1 pm, we will make this a very memorable Veterans Day for the Hebron area, dedicating the memorial out at Evans Park on Refugee Road. There is more information on the front of this paper, and we all hope to see you there.

Election results? Well, this column isn’t a place for breaking news, but I can say this: just as wise Republicans knew when Clinton was elected president, and discerning Democrats understood when Bush was elected, we have our duly elected officials, and let us pray for them, help them fulfill the duties of their offices, and together work to make a better Hebron, finer Union and Licking Townships, and a continually improving Lakewood school district. The above statement stands no matter who was elected! And that’s the way it is. . .

Thanksgiving is coming up soon, on Nov. 27 this year. School holidays ahead include an early release on Wed., Nov. 19, and Tues. Nov. 25 is the last day of classes Thanksgiving week. Sunday evening beginning that week, at 7 pm on Nov. 23, a Community Thanksgiving Service sponsored by a number of area churches will be in the auditorium of Lakewood High School. The service will be youth led and presented, and an offering for Buckeye Lake LEADS food pantry will be gathered.
If you don’t have anything else to come and give thanks for, how about this weather? We can’t regret the frost when it comes after a glorious autumn like we’ve had, with the skies themselves making up for the color absent from most of the leaves.

Jeff Gill is pastor of Hebron Christian Church and a confirmed sky geek. If you’re seeing strange lights in the sky, call him at 928-4066 or e-mail