Former base commander urges Springfielders to honor military

A former Wright-Patterson commander urged Springfield residents Monday to stop and appreciate the sacrifices those in the military make to keep this country safe.

“The sun never sets on our Department of Defense. So we can sleep well. Your Department of defense is definitely awake thanks to the many people we honor today on Armed Forces Day,” said Cassie Barlow, executive director of the Wright State University Aerospace Professional Development Center.

Barlow, a retired U.S. Air Force colonel and Wright-Patterson commander, spoke on Monday at the Hollenbeck Bayley Convention Center as part of the Springfield-Clark County 35th annual Armed Forces Day Luncheon hosted by the Springfield Rotary Club, Springfield Kiwanis Club, Springfield Exchange Club and the Miami Valley Military Affairs Association.

Armed Forces Day was established Aug. 31, 1949 during President Harry S. Truman. The day replaced separate days honoring those in the Army, Navy and Air Force.

The day has been observed with an annual luncheon by the Rotary Club for 35 years, said Col. Ralph Anderson, a retired member of the U.S Air Force and a member of the Springfield Rotary Club.

He said Memorial Day on May 30 and Veterans Day Nov. 11 honor veterans.

“This is a unique opportunity for those folks out there who are currently serving and for us to tell them we really appreciate their service and what they do and that we’re really behind them. I think they need that,” Anderson said.

Barlow said there are currently more than 2.4 million men and women in the military.

She said those who serve put service before themselves and their families.

“When I think of those serving our armed forces, regardless of what branch and what duties they perform, I think of one word and that word is sacrifice. In doing this they’re giving their all,” Barlow said.

“They’re ready to deploy at a moment’s notice and prepare to put their lives on the line to defend our freedoms and our way of life. They endure so the rest of us can live freely. No matter where these men and women are serving or what their missions are, they are all making sacrifices for a better world for the rest of us … Each one of them has a story.”

She recalled a member of the Air Force who was headed to Afghanistan and was killed in Germany on March 2, 2011, after moving his family to England a month prior.

Barlow said when she went to the man’s home to tell his wife, the family still had not completely unpacked.

Posthumously, the man was awarded the Purple Heart, she said.

Barlow said the dedication of those in military that make this country strong.

“They’re not there fighting for glory. They don’t care how many medals they earn or how many times they see their names in the newspaper or on TV. They’re out there every minute of every day fighting for what they believe in. They’re fighting for peace and security for their families and for our families. They’re fighting so the rest of us don’t have to. They’re fighting for the freedoms that make the United States of America the greatest nation on Earth,” she said