Some interesting stories

If you haven’t had a chance to look through today’s entire edition yet, I suggest you take the time to do so.

In it you will find stories about some of the area’s most interesting and, at the same time, humble people, our veterans.

That’s appropriate, because today is Veterans Day. It’s always a significant day, but today also represents an important milestone — it’s the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. The Armistice Agreement with Germany that brought an end to the War to End All Wars became effective on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.

The following year, President Woodrow Wilson wrote, “Out of this victory there arose new possibilities of political freedom and economic concert. The war showed us the strength of great nations acting together for high purposes, and the victory of arms foretells the enduring conquests which can be made in peace when nations act justly and in furtherance of the common interests of men.”

Armistice Day would evolve into the Veterans Day we mark now, as a way to recognize all of those who have served.

Any discussion of Wilson, of course, would not be complete without remembering that his grandfather, James Wilson, once lived in Steubenville and, in fact, at one time owned the direct predecessor of the Herald-Star. His son, the father of the man who would become the 28th president of the United States, Joseph Ruggles Wilson Sr., was born in the city. The president’s mother, Janet Jesse Woodrow, met her future husband while she was a student at the Steubenville Female Seminary.

It’s Steubenville’s connection to a moment in history, and it’s appropriate that today is a day to remember those who served — and to continue to pray for the safety of those who continue to serve.

As you look through the special section dedicated to veterans and read the other profiles that appear in the paper, you’ll find that while the common thread of service runs among all of them, their stories vary widely.

Some, for instance, enlisted in the armed forces after the Sept. 11 terror attacks. Others joined after they had finished college and had become part of the work force. Still others did not willingly join, but were drafted. Some needed the permission of their parents to enlist because they were younger than the minimum age.

There are profiles of enlisted men as well as those who graduated from the service academies.

You’ll find the stories of those who served in all parts of the world, and read their recollections of what it was like to see duty during times of peace as well as in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm and the Gulf War. Some remember battles — including the D-Day invasion — some remember the people they met along the way, some remember the sights and sounds they experienced and others remember when they realized they had ended up a long, long way from home.

“It wasn’t Ohio, it wasn’t Steubenville, it wasn’t the smell of the mills at the time. It wasn’t a familiar feeling. I remember thinking, ‘Oh, my, I’m here. I’ve got to do what I can to make it home,'” recalls Charlie Joyce, who would enjoy a long and successful career in education after returning home, but only recently has become comfortable reflecting on his time in the service.

And, while each story is unique and each experience different, it’s likely the words of 84-year-old Jack L. Cassella of Weirton best sum up the thoughts of the veterans whose profiles you’ll read: “I served my country to give others the freedom to live free.”

We’re thankful they served, glad they were willing to share their stories and are certain you will find them interesting.

(Gallabrese, a resident of Steubenville, is executive editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times.)