Two Ohio communities of Miamisburg and Bellbrook came together this month to honor military veterans with a Veteran Appreciation Game between high school baseball teams.
Some of the finest schools in terms of advancing moral character are found in rural public schools. Miamisburg and Bellhook have a population of 20,000 and 11,000 respectively. Here in the rural Midwest, researchers at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture found three spheres of moral obligation were common: immigration, religious responsibility, and military service. Here military service is appreciated. It’s a “clear expectation that people respect and honor those serving, those who had served, and those students thinking about joining.”
“It’s just a way for us to honor people what don’t normally get enough credit,” Miamisburg head coach Steve Kurtz told Dayton Daily News.
The April 21st outing kicked off at Miamisburg High School with players on both teams greeting veterans with a firm handshake, and a 21-gun salute. The opening ceremony also included taps, the national anthem, and a team of professional skydivers, who brought in the ball for the first pitch.
Gold star father Paul Zanowick, whose son Marine Cpl. Paul “Ricky” Zanowick II was killed in Afghanistan, did the honors.
“Not everywhere in the country is there so much care and concern for the military, but it is here,” Zanowick said.
His wife, Nanette, was also moved by the community support.
“I’m very touched and very proud of this community and what we do for veterans and they honored our son today to make it extra special,” she said.
Organizers sold commemorative t-shirts at the game and donated the profits to the Wounded Warrior Project, a Florida based nonprofit that works to help veterans who’ve served since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Nearly a half-million veterans suffer from physical injuries from conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, including as many as 400,000 that suffer from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
“With the support of our community of donors and team members, we give a voice to those needs and empower our warriors to begin the journey of recovery,” according to the project’s website.
Kurtz told the Daily News he’s proud of his community’s support for veterans, and it was obvious at the recent game that it has a significant impact.
“It’s good to see that they smile and they know that we do care and are extremely grateful for what they’ve done for us,” he said.
Teachers and principals working to strengthen moral and citizenship formation in their students can find information and strategies at the UK’s The Jubilee Centre. In The Jubilee Centre’s own words, the following illustrates how the centre views its work. “The Jubilee Centre is a pioneering interdisciplinary research centre on character, virtues and values in the interest of human flourishing. The Centre is a leading informant on policy and practice through its extensive range of projects contributes to a renewal of character virtues in both individuals and society.”