“Who are we to complain”


The Highland House Museum and Highland County Historical Society members paid remembrance to veterans with their yearly Veterans Day ceremony Friday. However, the ceremony did not hold a ringing of a C.S. Bell in front of the museum due to a car accident that happened the night before and broke pieces holding it upright.

“Well, I think it’s very important to honor our veterans and to recognize their service,” Vicki Knauff, executive director of the museum, said. “We have so many veterans in Highland County. It’s a very patriotic community and I think almost all people, I assume … respect our veterans and what they’ve been through. And whether it’s been in combat or not, you know, they’re away from home, they’re away from everything that is familiar to them, so it can be a struggle even though you’re not in battle… I think it just kinda renews our thoughts about the sacrifices the veterans have given this country and the price of freedom. You know, freedom is not free. Somebody has to pay.”

The event this year was held inside the Highland House due to the bell damage as well as a downpour the morning of the event.

Knauff said, however, that rain didn’t stop the veterans of World War I in the trenches, nor the ones in the snow at the Battle of the Bulge, the cold temperatures in Korea or the heat in Vietnam.

“Who are we to complain about rain when we can get inside and be safe and dry?” Knauff said.

Alex Butler, Highland County auditor elect and a member of the 372nd Military Intelligence Battalion in Norwood, agreed, saying that the weather outside was “nothing” compared to what military men and women endured.

Knauff said that every year the event honors one of the county’s veterans through the Veterans Banner Project. She said the deadline to put someone’s name has been moved up next year to Feb. 3, 2023, and that there are registration forms in Highland House if somebody is interested.

Elissa Zornes, the chapter regent of the Daughters of the American Revolution, said this year’s selected veteran is Adjutant John Mills Barrere. She said Barrere was 62 when the Civil War “broke out,” when he helped organize the 60th Ohio Volunteer Regiment and went to war.

She also said Zornes had a piece of a shell go into his arm, requiring his arm to be amputated, with his regiment being taken prisoner by Confederate forces following a battle. Zornes said he was eventually released and returned to Highland County, where he served as Hillsboro postmaster “for a while.” She said he died in 1888 and is now buried in the Hillsboro Cemetery.

Also in attendance at the event was the Rev. Mark Hollinger, youth pastor and musician, who sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “America the Beautiful.”

“If you go out on Google and if you did a search for patriotic songs, I almost guarantee you that the two that come up pretty much, neck-and-neck, for the top is “The Star-Spangled Banner,” of course, and then “America the Beautiful,” he said.

Reach Jacob Clary at 937-402-2570.

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