​Hometown Hero Speech as delivered by Tyler J. Hall at the East Liberty Cemetery Memorial Day 2022: An oppressive foreign government running amok. A citizenry that should be free, subjugated by that same tyrannical government. The United States media in a frenzied attempt to stoke the American people’s desire for military intervention in a foreign country. Does that sound like the last three months? Perhaps it does but today’s focus takes us not to the crucible of eastern Europe but to an island about 90 miles from Key West, Florida. The last third of the 1800s saw the Cuban people desperately trying to rid themselves of the yoke of their colonizer: The Kingdom of Spain. Reaching an international fever pitch in the 1890s, many in the United States fervently objected to Spain’s treatment of the people of Cuba. The Spanish government in Cuba forced suspected revolutionaries into prison camps, among other brutal tactics. No group of Americans was more aghast of the situation in Cuba than the American media elite. William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer, powerful and opposing New York publishers, ran blaring headlines and frenzied news articles containing a hyperbolic reporting style known as “yellow journalism.” Yellow journalism and its purveyor, the “yellow press,” were the terms used for journalism and associated newspapers that presented little or no legitimate, wellresearched news while instead using eye-catching headlines for increased sales. Sound familiar? Becoming increasingly concerned for American citizens’ safety in Cuba, Ohio’s own US President William McKinley dispatched the armored cruiser USS Maine to Havana in January 1898 to send a clear message to Spain regarding the Cuban situation. A month later, an explosion of questionable origin occurred on the Maine, killing over 260 of her crew. Some claimed it was an underwater mine; others said it was simply an accident. Regardless of the cause, the US press was adamant that the nefarious Spain was behind the attack and that its violent antics had gone on long enough. On April 21, 1898, the United States declared war on Spain. One who needed no convincing to join the war was then Assistant Secretary of the Navy Theodore Roosevelt. Upon the declaration of war, Roosevelt promptly resigned his post and, along with Army Colonel Leonard Wood, assembled the First US Volunteer Cavalry Regiment, or the “Rough Riders” as they became known. Roosevelt would go on to win the Congressional Medal of Honor and, after he was assassinated, succeed McKinley as the 26th President of the United States. Ohio had a few volunteer infantry and cavalry units that joined the war effort. Four men from East Liberty apparently served in some of these groups. Aaron S. Fitzpatrick, William T. Sharp, Charles A. Meddles, and Ivan J. Humphreys. The Ohio units seemingly never deployed to Cuba or any of the other areas that were part of the Spanish American War, like Puerto Rico, the Philippines, or Guam. Ultimately, the war only lasted three months, ending in an overwhelming US victory. The war simply ended too quickly for our East Liberty guys to become involved. At least that is what information is out there. I wish I had additional details about these four, but the truth is, we could not find out much on them. We know of those four who served, three, Fitzpatrick, Sharp, and Meddles are buried here in this cemetery. They have markers near their graves indicating their service in the Spanish American War. It is believed Humphreys moved down the road to Union County upon his return and is buried there. We have found some references to their service in military records, but beyond that, we do not know these men. In situations like this, the usual course is to rely on records or word-of-mouth stories around the community, but even those were sparse. The Spanish American War, because of its brevity, is short on written accounts. Certainly, we hear their last names and know that those names are recognizable in this community, but given that their brief service occurred before the turn of the 20th century, it is hardly surprising that finding folks that knew these men are hard to come by. What information we have come across is helpful in telling us who these men might have been, but little else. For example, it is known that Aaron Fitzpatrick was a first-generation US citizen whose parents immigrated from Ireland. Beyond that, we have been left grasping for details. We do not even know for sure what military unit each of them served in. This somewhat fruitless effort has forced the acknowledgment of a hard truth: the pertinent details of these four East Liberty boys’ lives and service may be lost. Truly, the real memories of our Hometown Heroes are not usually found in books or records. No friends, the best recollections of military service are treasured and passed down from generation to generation. Around dinner tables and on front porches. At family reunions and outside the grocery store. And all that is something we are sorely missing with these men and perhaps across our country. Indeed, I am here to tell you as emphatically as I can that all of you are the most critical part in ensuring that the remembrances of East Liberty’s many Hometown Heroes continue. Oh sure, those mundane details like dates of service and the like might be found in some dusty pages, and you can be sure that I will be up here every year to regale you with a little history and tales of sacrifice. But that only happens once a year here on Memorial Day in East Liberty. There are another 364 days in the year where we can all do our part. I wish I could stand here and tell you that this will be easy. It might be uncomfortable or feel like an uphill battle in a nation increasingly plagued by division, complacence, and, sadly, violence. Consider then Governor Ronald Reagan’s famous words: “Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance, it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom and then lost it have never known it again.” For years, I suppose I always thought that President Reagan was referring to those that served in our armed forces. However, now I know that he was not referencing those that defended our country in uniform. Indeed, in times of crisis, there will always be those who answer the call to place themselves into the breach. No, Reagan was speaking to each of us. To the farmers and factory workers, to tradesmen and teachers, to lawyers and laypersons. As such, all of us bear the burden of safeguarding that fragile thing we call freedom. Take heart though, there are undertakings I know all of you can do, and all you need commit to is taking the first step. Talk to your children or grandchildren about those you know who have served. Tell them what that service should mean to their lives and what it has meant to yours. If you or your family run into a veteran or member of the military, thank them for their service. Be the voice in your own household that stands for honoring those who enabled the sweet bell of freedom to be rung throughout the land. We must step out into our community, and shoulder the mantle of freedom so as to ensure that this nation, and the endeavors of the Hometown Heroes that served it, prevail for generations to come. Your task starts today. Thank you all for being here. May God bless you and may His truth march on for these United States.Hometown Hero Speech as delivered by Tyler J. Hall at the East Liberty Cemetery, Memorial Day 2022: An oppressive foreign government running amok. A citizenry that should be free, subjugated by that same tyrannical government. The United States media in a frenzied attempt to stoke the American people’s desire for military intervention in a foreign country. Does that sound like the last three months? Perhaps it does but today’s focus takes us not to the crucible of eastern Europe but to an island about 90 miles from Key West, Florida. The last third of the 1800s saw the Cuban people desperately trying to rid themselves of the yoke of their colonizer: The Kingdom of Spain. Reaching an international fever pitch in the 1890s, many in the United States fervently objected to Spain’s treatment of the people of Cuba. The Spanish government in Cuba forced suspected revolutionaries into prison camps, among other brutal tactics. No group of Americans was more aghast of the situation in Cuba than the American media elite. William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer, powerful and opposing New York publishers, ran blaring headlines and frenzied news articles containing a hyperbolic reporting style known as “yellow journalism.” Yellow journalism and its purveyor, the “yellow press,” were the terms used for journalism and associated newspapers that presented little or no legitimate, wellresearched news while instead using eye-catching headlines for increased sales. Sound familiar? Becoming increasingly concerned for American citizens’ safety in Cuba, Ohio’s own US President William McKinley dispatched the armored cruiser USS Maine to Havana in January 1898 to send a clear message to Spain regarding the Cuban situation. A month later, an explosion of questionable origin occurred on the Maine, killing over 260 of her crew. Some claimed it was an underwater mine; others said it was simply an accident. Regardless of the cause, the US press was adamant that the nefarious Spain was behind the attack and that its violent antics had gone on long enough. On April 21, 1898, the United States declared war on Spain. One who needed no convincing to join the war was then Assistant Secretary of the Navy Theodore Roosevelt. Upon the declaration of war, Roosevelt promptly resigned his post and, along with Army Colonel Leonard Wood, assembled the First US Volunteer Cavalry Regiment, or the “Rough Riders” as they became known. Roosevelt would go on to win the Congressional Medal of Honor and, after he was assassinated, succeed McKinley as the 26th President of the United States. Ohio had a few volunteer infantry and cavalry units that joined the war effort. Four men from East Liberty apparently served in some of these groups. Aaron S. Fitzpatrick, William T. Sharp, Charles A. Meddles, and Ivan J. Humphreys. The Ohio units seemingly never deployed to Cuba or any of the other areas that were part of the Spanish American War, like Puerto Rico, the Philippines, or Guam. Ultimately, the war only lasted three months, ending in an overwhelming US victory. The war simply ended too quickly for our East Liberty guys to become involved. At least that is what information is out there. I wish I had additional details about these four, but the truth is, we could not find out much on them. We know of those four who served, three, Fitzpatrick, Sharp, and Meddles are buried here in this cemetery. They have markers near their graves indicating their service in the Spanish American War. It is believed Humphreys moved down the road to Union County upon his return and is buried there. We have found some references to their service in military records, but beyond that, we do not know these men. In situations like this, the usual course is to rely on records or word-of-mouth stories around the community, but even those were sparse. The Spanish American War, because of its brevity, is short on written accounts. Certainly, we hear their last names and know that those names are recognizable in this community, but given that their brief service occurred before the turn of the 20th century, it is hardly surprising that finding folks that knew these men are hard to come by. What information we have come across is helpful in telling us who these men might have been, but little else. For example, it is known that Aaron Fitzpatrick was a first-generation US citizen whose parents immigrated from Ireland. Beyond that, we have been left grasping for details. We do not even know for sure what military unit each of them served in. This somewhat fruitless effort has forced the acknowledgment of a hard truth: the pertinent details of these four East Liberty boys’ lives and service may be lost. Truly, the real memories of our Hometown Heroes are not usually found in books or records. No friends, the best recollections of military service are treasured and passed down from generation to generation. Around dinner tables and on front porches. At family reunions and outside the grocery store. And all that is something we are sorely missing with these men and perhaps across our country. Indeed, I am here to tell you as emphatically as I can that all of you are the most critical part in ensuring that the remembrances of East Liberty’s many Hometown Heroes continue. Oh sure, those mundane details like dates of service and the like might be found in some dusty pages, and you can be sure that I will be up here every year to regale you with a little history and tales of sacrifice. But that only happens once a year here on Memorial Day in East Liberty. There are another 364 days in the year where we can all do our part. I wish I could stand here and tell you that this will be easy. It might be uncomfortable or feel like an uphill battle in a nation increasingly plagued by division, complacence, and, sadly, violence. Consider then Governor Ronald Reagan’s famous words: “Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance, it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom and then lost it have never known it again.” For years, I suppose I always thought that President Reagan was referring to those that served in our armed forces. However, now I know that he was not referencing those that defended our country in uniform. Indeed, in times of crisis, there will always be those who answer the call to place themselves into the breach. No, Reagan was speaking to each of us. To the farmers and factory workers, to tradesmen and teachers, to lawyers and laypersons. As such, all of us bear the burden of safeguarding that fragile thing we call freedom. Take heart though, there are undertakings I know all of you can do, and all you need commit to is taking the first step. Talk to your children or grandchildren about those you know who have served. Tell them what that service should mean to their lives and what it has meant to yours. If you or your family run into a veteran or member of the military, thank them for their service. Be the voice in your own household that stands for honoring those who enabled the sweet bell of freedom to be rung throughout the land. We must step out into our community, and shoulder the mantle of freedom so as to ensure that this nation, and the endeavors of the Hometown Heroes that served it, prevail for generations to come. Your task starts today. Thank you all for being here. May God bless you and may His truth march on for these United States.Hometown Hero Speech as delivered by Tyler J. Hall at the East Liberty Cemetery, Memorial Day 2022: An oppressive foreign government running amok. A citizenry that should be free, subjugated by that same tyrannical government. The United States media in a frenzied attempt to stoke the American people’s desire for military intervention in a foreign country. Does that sound like the last three months? Perhaps it does but today’s focus takes us not to the crucible of eastern Europe but to an island about 90 miles from Key West, Florida. The last third of the 1800s saw the Cuban people desperately trying to rid themselves of the yoke of their colonizer: The Kingdom of Spain. Reaching an international fever pitch in the 1890s, many in the United States fervently objected to Spain’s treatment of the people of Cuba. The Spanish government in Cuba forced suspected revolutionaries into prison camps, among other brutal tactics. No group of Americans was more aghast of the situation in Cuba than the American media elite. William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer, powerful and opposing New York publishers, ran blaring headlines and frenzied news articles containing a hyperbolic reporting style known as “yellow journalism.” Yellow journalism and its purveyor, the “yellow press,” were the terms used for journalism and associated newspapers that presented little or no legitimate, wellresearched news while instead using eye-catching headlines for increased sales. Sound familiar? Becoming increasingly concerned for American citizens’ safety in Cuba, Ohio’s own US President William McKinley dispatched the armored cruiser USS Maine to Havana in January 1898 to send a clear message to Spain regarding the Cuban situation. A month later, an explosion of questionable origin occurred on the Maine, killing over 260 of her crew. Some claimed it was an underwater mine; others said it was simply an accident. Regardless of the cause, the US press was adamant that the nefarious Spain was behind the attack and that its violent antics had gone on long enough. On April 21, 1898, the United States declared war on Spain. One who needed no convincing to join the war was then Assistant Secretary of the Navy Theodore Roosevelt. Upon the declaration of war, Roosevelt promptly resigned his post and, along with Army Colonel Leonard Wood, assembled the First US Volunteer Cavalry Regiment, or the “Rough Riders” as they became known. Roosevelt would go on to win the Congressional Medal of Honor and, after he was assassinated, succeed McKinley as the 26th President of the United States. Ohio had a few volunteer infantry and cavalry units that joined the war effort. Four men from East Liberty apparently served in some of these groups. Aaron S. Fitzpatrick, William T. Sharp, Charles A. Meddles, and Ivan J. Humphreys. The Ohio units seemingly never deployed to Cuba or any of the other areas that were part of the Spanish American War, like Puerto Rico, the Philippines, or Guam. Ultimately, the war only lasted three months, ending in an overwhelming US victory. The war simply ended too quickly for our East Liberty guys to become involved. At least that is what information is out there. I wish I had additional details about these four, but the truth is, we could not find out much on them. We know of those four who served, three, Fitzpatrick, Sharp, and Meddles are buried here in this cemetery. They have markers near their graves indicating their service in the Spanish American War. It is believed Humphreys moved down the road to Union County upon his return and is buried there. We have found some references to their service in military records, but beyond that, we do not know these men. In situations like this, the usual course is to rely on records or word-of-mouth stories around the community, but even those were sparse. The Spanish American War, because of its brevity, is short on written accounts. Certainly, we hear their last names and know that those names are recognizable in this community, but given that their brief service occurred before the turn of the 20th century, it is hardly surprising that finding folks that knew these men are hard to come by. What information we have come across is helpful in telling us who these men might have been, but little else. For example, it is known that Aaron Fitzpatrick was a first-generation US citizen whose parents immigrated from Ireland. Beyond that, we have been left grasping for details. We do not even know for sure what military unit each of them served in. This somewhat fruitless effort has forced the acknowledgment of a hard truth: the pertinent details of these four East Liberty boys’ lives and service may be lost. Truly, the real memories of our Hometown Heroes are not usually found in books or records. No friends, the best recollections of military service are treasured and passed down from generation to generation. Around dinner tables and on front porches. At family reunions and outside the grocery store. And all that is something we are sorely missing with these men and perhaps across our country. Indeed, I am here to tell you as emphatically as I can that all of you are the most critical part in ensuring that the remembrances of East Liberty’s many Hometown Heroes continue. Oh sure, those mundane details like dates of service and the like might be found in some dusty pages, and you can be sure that I will be up here every year to regale you with a little history and tales of sacrifice. But that only happens once a year here on Memorial Day in East Liberty. There are another 364 days in the year where we can all do our part. I wish I could stand here and tell you that this will be easy. It might be uncomfortable or feel like an uphill battle in a nation increasingly plagued by division, complacence, and, sadly, violence. Consider then Governor Ronald Reagan’s famous words: “Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance, it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom and then lost it have never known it again.” For years, I suppose I always thought that President Reagan was referring to those that served in our armed forces. However, now I know that he was not referencing those that defended our country in uniform. Indeed, in times of crisis, there will always be those who answer the call to place themselves into the breach. No, Reagan was speaking to each of us. To the farmers and factory workers, to tradesmen and teachers, to lawyers and laypersons. As such, all of us bear the burden of safeguarding that fragile thing we call freedom. Take heart though, there are undertakings I know all of you can do, and all you need commit to is taking the first step. Talk to your children or grandchildren about those you know who have served. Tell them what that service should mean to their lives and what it has meant to yours. If you or your family run into a veteran or member of the military, thank them for their service. Be the voice in your own household that stands for honoring those who enabled the sweet bell of freedom to be rung throughout the land. We must step out into our community, and shoulder the mantle of freedom so as to ensure that this nation, and the endeavors of the Hometown Heroes that served it, prevail for generations to come. Your task starts today. Thank you all for being here. May God bless you and may His truth march on for these United States.