Wauseon kids honor fallen service members

The people responsible for the theft of military service markers at two cemeteries near Wauseon have been caught, but the markers could not be recovered. Now kids from Wauseon High School have been working on grave blankets as a way to honor some fallen service members that are laid to rest here.

"We do have a couple students here who do have siblings in the military or who have parents who were in the military," says Program Coordinator Kim Murry.

Family of those service members were on hand to receive these grave blankets Wednesday, and they each have a story to tell.

Jeanette Weber lost her brother in WWII and recalls his story, "He was on the Pistol Packin Mama. The plane was lost over Truck Island in the South Pacific."

Her brother Robert Burkholder was killed in 1941 when his plane was shot down. And though she was just a girl, his legacy lives on through her.

She says, "That becomes more true as you get older, because you realize that freedom isn't free. I know that's a cliché but it's so very true."

Melva Grisier was also in attendance, She, too, lost her brother, Paul Banister, in WWII when his sub-marine, the USS Amber Jack was sunk.

"It was reportedly one that had sunk the most enemy tonnage that any other sub," she says.

Family members of other fallen military personnel were also on hand to lay the grave blankets over the departed. They say the work the students have put in is truly appreciated.

"I think today would be just, in his thought, that this was honoring all veterans," says Grisier, as she recalls that her brother was very humble.

The stories told by these family members couldn't be told in under an hour, but WNWO is truly appreciative for the opportunity to see a small glimpse into the history of fallen heroes from our area.

The stolen markers have now been replaced, and are cemented in. And with the help thoughtful groups of kids like the ones from Wauseon High School, the memory of these, and all fallen veterans, will live on through the ages.