In the rotunda of the Ohio Statehouse hangs a portrait of Navy Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry leading his men at the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812, which proved influential in establishing credibility and pride in the United States, just nearly four decades after declaring independence from Great Britain.
Since that time, Ohio and its people have continued to be a major part of our nation’s military heritage. Today, Ohio is home to more than 850,000 veterans, the sixth-most in the country. Part of what ties generations of Americans together is remembering and learning about the men and women who served this country in uniform. Preserving that military history will teach past, present and especially future generations about the sacrifices it took to keep this nation free and strong.
In pursuit of this effort, the Ohio History Connection (formerly the Ohio Historical Society) is in the process of collecting military memorabilia from veterans and their families who are willing to donate. These could include mementos, letters, photographs or any other items that help share veterans’ stories with their fellow Ohioans. Collected materials from all branches of the military will go toward building an exhibit in the new Ohio Veterans’ Memorial and Museum being constructed in Columbus.
The Ohio History Connection is hoping to gather military items from all eras, but most in need are those from the Korean and Vietnam wars and more recent conflicts like in the Persian Gulf, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Although we can never know for certain what the future holds, we can better prepare ourselves for it by learning our history. This is especially important when it comes to preserving the rich military heritage in our state. Ohio plays such an integral role in our nation’s strength, prosperity and security, and programs like this can help ensure that we never lose sight of that.
If you have questions about this initiative, I encourage you to contact the Ohio History Connection at 614-297-2535, or at the e-mail address, [email protected] Other information is available at https://www.ohiohistory.org/learn/collections/history/history-blog/june-2015/call-for-collections. As always, please feel free to contact my office as well at (614) 466-3506 or [email protected]
Cliff Rosenberger of the 91st House District is the Ohio House Speaker.