Know Ohio: We Salute Ohio Veterans

If you had an extra day off this week, you’re probably grateful for Veteran’s Day. But it’s more than just an excuse to sleep in. Veteran’s Day is a national holiday that honors people who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. Know Ohio correspondent Mary Fecteau introduces you to some of Ohio’s bravest.

When you think about your heroes -- people you admire and look up to, you might think about your parents, your teachers, NewsCat, or maybe even a superhero from a blockbuster you saw over the summer. But in honor of Veteran’s Day, I’d like to introduce you to some real-life Ohio superheroes: men and women who have risked their lives and made tremendous sacrifices for their country. 

Here’s one hero for your consideration: Robert Madison. Originally from Cleveland, Robert was an architecture student at Howard University when he was called to serve in 1941 at the start of World War II. But as an African American officer, Robert fought both discrimination in the U.S. military, as well as our foreign enemies.

He was segregated, or prevented from fighting alongside his White counterparts, and fought entirely with an all-black unit. But his unit successfully fought across Italy, gaining ground and liberating cities. Robert was honored with a Purple Heart after he suffered injuries during the conflict. When he returned to Cleveland, he finished school and opened the first black-owned architecture firm in Ohio.

Years later, Robert reflected on his service by saying: "We were determined to be great soldiers and win, so we could come back and say we did it. We wanted to prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that we deserved to be treated as equals." 

But you don’t need to be a soldier to be a brave veteran.

Ohioan Margaret Henry served her country during World War II by working for the Red Cross. She was running a small rest center for exhausted soldiers in Luxemburg, when she was plunged into the Battle of the Bulge, one of the deadliest attacks of the war. Margaret narrowly escaped the advancing German army under the cover of darkness, and continued to serve until the end of the war.

In 1947, Margaret was presented a Bronze Star for her selfless devotion to American soldiers.

In her memoirs, Margaret wrote of the Battle of the Bulge: “How did I feel through all of this? Scared to death naturally…but equally determined not to let the men know how frightened I really was.”

Since World War II, there been have many military conflicts that have called on our bravest Buckeyes. The Vietnam War spanned nearly two decades in the 50s, 60s, and 70s – and Ohioan Thomas Nelson Moe served as an Air Force pilot.

 In 1968, his plane was shot down over enemy territory. After avoiding capture for three days, he was discovered and imprisoned by the North Vietnamese for the next five years. Even though he suffered Kidney damage due to the harsh conditions in the prison, he refused to be released earlier than prisoners that where captured before him. He was eventually  released in 1973, and has since served as Ohio’s Director of Veterans Services. When he retired from the post, Governor John Kaisch called him “a true American hero.”

But there are so many more heroes throughout the Buckeye State. In fact, veterans make up 7% of Ohio’s total population, so, chances are, you know one!  And now’s as good a time as any to thank them for their service.

Instructional Links

Article/Video: Robert Madison:  WWII:  Buffalo Soldier

Website:  Library of Congress:  Stories from the Veterans History Project:  Margaret Henry Fleming:  WWII American Red Cross

Website:  Library of Congress:  Stories from the Veterans History Project: Thomas Nelson Moe: Vietnam War

Website:  Sprout World: Information and Videos About Sprout Pencils

Slide Show:  Web MD:  A Visual Visual Guide to Cataracts

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