July 25, 2016

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Meaning of ‘sacrifice’ stressed at Ohio Western Reserve Cemetery

RITTMAN — The featured speaker at Sunday’s Memorial Day weekend events at Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery said the word “sacrifice” is too often used to mean refraining from buying a new car or something similar.

“We use the word too much, and on a day like today we need to remember what it means,” said Charles Faddis, a retired CIA operations officer and author.

Robert and Doreen Thibodeau, of Chester Township, carry a ceremonial wreath to honor their son, Chief Warrant Officer Christopher Thibodeau, who was killed in Afghanistan on May 26, 2011, along with others who have died in war, during Memorial Day observances Sunday at Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery in Rittman. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY KIERA MANION-FISCHER)

Faddis said the word “sacrifice” better described a man who gave a decade of his life to military service.

He described a Marine who got both of his legs blown off, then redeployed to Afghanistan with two artificial legs.

“That is commitment,” Faddis said.

First known as Decoration Day, the observance started after the Civil War to honor the dead of that war. Today, Memorial Day, as it is now known, recognizes all who died while serving in the military.

Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery was established in 2000.

U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Wadsworth, spoke as well. He said citizens must not just honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice; but they must honor all who serve in uniform.

“They fight not just for themselves, but for the cause of freedom,” he said.

“We are forever in their debt,” he added. “We must always remember their sacrifice.”

Rittman Mayor William Robertson encouraged veterans in the audience to share their stories with their family, friends and neighbors.

Robert and Doreen Thibodeau, parents of Chief Warrant Officer Christopher Thibodeau, 28, who was killed in Afghanistan, were recognized during the ceremony.

Doreen Thibodeau, of Chester Township, said it was important to tell the story of not just her son, but of all who serve.

Christopher Thibodeau, an Army helicopter pilot, was killed May 26, 2011, during combat in Afghanistan.

Contact Kiera Manion-Fischer at (330) 721-4049 or kfischer@medina-gazette.com.

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