10th anniversary of Veterans Museum celebrated
By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
TAYLOR – City officials and veterans honored current military personnel May 18 during an Armed Forces Remembrance Day ceremony, and honored the late John Dingell Jr. as part of the Veterans Museum’s 10th anniversary.
The program, led by City Councilman Butch Ramik and Taylor Veterans Museum volunteer Stephanie Krueger, featured the presentation of a commemorative challenge coin to U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-12th District) to honor the memory and service of her late husband, former U.S. Rep. John D. Dingell Jr.
Challenge coins or medallions are emblems carried by an organization’s members, and were traditionally presented by unit commanders in recognition of special achievement by a member of the unit.
The city’s 2019 commemorative coin has the Taylor Veterans Museum emblem on one side, and two portraits of John Dingell on the other side, with him in his U.S. Army World War II uniform, and a more recent congressional image, with the words “Dean of the House,” and the U.S. Capitol Building in the background.
Ramik said it is important to remember the people who served in the U.S. Armed Forces.
“I want to thank everyone for giving a portion of their time and heart today to the men and women of the armed forces,” he said.
Mayor Rick Sollars said that over the years, the city’s Armed Forces Remembrance Day ceremony has honored members of the Greatest Generation who served in World War II, then the Korean and Vietnam War veterans, and now honors those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“As you go through the Veterans Museum on a quiet day, if you listen closely, the walls will speak to you,” Sollars said. “They tell you stories of a now distant past. They are all honored in the beautiful displays that outline portions of their lives.”
Sollars said he was honored to be in the presence of so many military veterans.
“To all who have served, I salute you and thank you,” Sollars said.
State Rep. Alex Garza (D-12th District) said it is important to have places like the Veterans Museum which honor those who fought to protect the nation’s freedom.
State Sen. Erika Geiss (D-6th District) said she remembered when the museum was just a thought, and to see it come to fruition is amazing.
“To have a museum here in Taylor that honors some of the bravest humans here in our community is absolutely remarkable,” Geiss said. “My gratitude to all of our veterans is from the bottom of my heart, for how you protect our communities and our families.”
Debbie Dingell said the next few weeks, with its focus on veterans, will be tough for her, as she faces her first Memorial Day without her husband, who was proud World War II Army veteran.
She said when she can bring herself to go through her husband’s personal effects, she will donate more of his memorabilia to the Veterans Museum.
“John Dingell didn’t care that he was a politician – he represented the people,” Dingell said. “He was proud to serve with the veterans.
“We need to remember those that keep us free every day, and this is the time we need to remember that we are not here as Republicans or Democrats, Michiganders or Ohio State, we are here because we are Americans, and Memorial Day is a time to remember what it means to be an American and all that it stands for.”
As he presented the challenge coin to Dingell, Ramik explained its meaning.
“There is nothing more honorable to receive from someone than a challenge coin,” he said. “A challenge coin says it all. We have made a special coin, and there will never be one like this made again, for Lt. John Dingell, and even though I knew him as a congressman, I always called him Lt. John Dingell.”
(Sue Suchyta can be reached at [email protected])