CLERMONT COUNTY, Ohio (FOX19) - Memorial Day services were different this year due to the pandemic, but that didn’t stop communities across the Tri-State from honoring fallen service members.
Tri-State veteran Chris Ryan took it upon himself to do just that at Veterans Memorial Park in Clermont County’s Union Township Monday.
Typically the park’s Memorial Day ceremony kicks off at 6 a.m., when veterans and family members read the names of local soldiers that have paid the ultimate sacrifice.
That didn’t happen this year. Instead Ryan, an Amelia native, showed up to honor those men and women with a dawn-to-dusk salute.
“This idea just kind of popped into my head,” Ryan said. “Just seemed like something that was a real honorable thing to do.”
Ryan continued: “This day means focusing on our fallen and wounded veterans. Those people deserve to have a day when we just focus on them and think about their memory."
Ryan stood at attention while some park visitors passed and others paused to reflect on the meaning of his gesture.
A small basket lay at his feet for donations. Ryan says he plans to give the money to the Special Operations Warrier Foundation, which provides a post-secondary education to the surviving children of fallen special operations service members.
Veteran Ken Williamson took in the tribute Monday afternoon.
“You know the names of the people are in our hearts and souls,” Williamson said. “And so we’re paying tribute that way.”