Row after row of white crosses, and some Stars of David, stand tall in the Ohio Fallen Heroes Memorial in Sunbury. It serves as a remembrance of those service members from Ohio who have fallen during the War on Terrorism since Sept. 11, 2001.
Remembering Those Who Fell During War on Terrorism
The Ohio Fallen Heroes Memorial is stunning, yet solemn, at night. Driving by, the lights illuminating the white crosses are an invitation to pull over and pay respects and reflect. An eternal flame dances at the head of the memorial where flags and seals represent the five branches of the military. A bronze statue of a pair of boots, rifle, and helmet with a pair of dog tags dangling sits off to the side. A line on the wall behind it reads, “Worse than death is to be forgotten.”
I visited the Ohio Fallen Heroes Memorial twice during a visit to Delaware County. Once at night and the next day during daylight. It’s the same memorial but two different experiences.
A Moving Memorial
Mementoes left by visitors are on some of the markers. They include coins, photographs, and small figurines. A set of three white crosses caught my eye because each had a small painting resting against each base. Each painting was of a blue cross on white background and each a little different. One stated “Freedom” in red.
Looking closer, I saw that the three men were all killed on the same day, April 4, 2012. Heartbreaking.
After coming home, I researched who they were. Their stories are one of hundreds. The three men served in the Ohio National Guard, assigned to the 1st Battalion, 148th Infantry Regiment, 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Ohio National Guard in Walbridge. Although based in Columbus, the brigade includes soldiers from across Ohio.
Three Heroes Remembered
These brave men died from wounds sustained from a suicide bomber on a motorcycle in Maymaneh, Faryab province, Afghanistan. At least 13 people died. From what I read, this northern part of Afghanistan was supposed to be relatively quiet. The men are:
- Sgt. 1st Class Shawn T. Hannon, 44, of Grove City. Read his memorial on Military Times. He is also remembered with a the Master Sgt. Shawn Hannon Memorial Scholarship, established for a recipient at Wellston High School in the Wellston City School District.
- Sgt. 1st Class Jeffrey J. Rieck, 45, of Columbus. Read his memorial on Military Times.
- Capt. Nicholas J. Rozanski, 36, of Dublin. Read his memorial on Military Times. The Nick Rozanski Memorial Foundation inspires others in the honor of those who served.
In Aug. 2015, the Hillard Post Office was designated as the as “Master Sergeant Shawn T. Hannon, Master Sergeant Jeffrey J. Rieck and Veterans Memorial Post Office Building.”
These men are a few of the nearly 300 Ohio servicemembers who gave up all in order to preserve our liberties. Founded and established in 2005, the Sunbury location was chosen for the memorial because it is practically the geographical center of Ohio, making it easily accessible to all who live in the state. The Ohio Fallen Heroes Memorial is a patriotic and beautiful way to help us never forget.
Nuts & Bolts About the Ohio Fallen Heroes Memorial
Ohio Fallen Heroes Memorial
72 ½ W. Cherry St.
Sunbury, Ohio 43074
Park either in the library next door or street parking is located about a block away. A small park is located directly behind the memorial.
Destination Delaware County Ohio
34 S. Sandusky St.
Delaware, Ohio 43015
Tel: (740) 368-4748