The Undo’s Upper Ohio Valley Italian Heritage Festival continued on Saturday with a Veteran’s Appreciation Ceremony at Heritage Port.
Many local Veterans were in attendance along with much of the community.
Medal of Honor recipient Hershel “Woody” Williams said he was on cloud nine after speaking as part of the ceremony.
He feels Wheeling has always been a patriotic city.
He told 7News the key to America’s future is the youth and they need to be taught and shown examples of patriotism.
“Our young people today are going to have the country in their control,” Williams continued. “We only know what we’re taught and if we don’t teach them, give them examples like this, they won’t know what freedom really means.”
Jeremy Harrison came to the ceremony to collect an award for his wife, but he ended up receiving an award as well.
He said its very humbling to be a part of the group of individuals that was recognized and feels having this ceremony is important to Wheeling.
“Having this event here helps to remind some of those people who don’t get to be around veteran events through out the year that we have a large veteran contingent that has done some amazing things in our community and nation wide,” said Harrison, who is the Founder and Chief Operations Officer for Helping Heroes.
Director of the Wheeling Vet Center John Looney was humbled by the words Williams shared and believes this ceremony makes the community much stronger, more inclusive, and shows people what it means to be an American.
“It’s a treat to just listen to veterans tease each other and we have a great time together and it can really understand the comradery,” added Looney, who is a Vietnam War veteran.
Williams said this warm welcome is not because of what he did, but what he represents.
“I don’t wear this medal for me. I wear it for those who never got to come home,” Williams continued. “It’s their medal. I’m just the caretaker of it. I shine it every morning particularly for two Marines on Iwo Jima who sacrificed their life protecting me.”
Williams added that recognition of our veterans should take place in every community.