Lest We Forget – Ohio Veterans’ Memorial Park

Welcome, Ohio Veterans’ Memorial Park

Tucked away along the Tuscarawas River in the southwest corner of Summit County, Ohio is the attractive village of Clinton, a popular trailhead for hikers on the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail. Less well known in Clinton is the Ohio Veterans’ Memorial Park, a beautiful and fascinating 1.7-acre site that salutes Ohioans who have fallen in all the Wars since the Buckeye State was founded in 1803.

Walkway to Memorial Wall, Ohio Veteran’s Memorial Park

From the parking area, a 185-foot walkway inlaid with hundreds of memorial pavers leads to the park’s centerpiece, the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Wall, a 125-foot-long structure with the names of 3,095 Ohioans lost in that conflict, etched on 50 black granite panels under the inscription “Lest We Forget.” The wall is supported only by its own weight and is the longest free-standing monument in the United States.

Memorial Wall & Eagle, Ohio Veterans’ Memorial Park

The photo below shows the reflection of the Gold Star Mother statue in the center of the Memorial Wall. Coincidentally, the statue is looking toward the inscription of Ohioan First Lieutenant Sharon Ann Lane, the only American servicewoman killed by direct enemy fire during the Vietnam War, on June 8, 1969 .   

Gold Star Mother Statue Reflection on Memorial Wall, Ohio Veterans’ Memorial Park
Gold Star Mother Statue, Ohio Veterans’ Memorial Park
Commemorative Wall – Early Wars

On the east face of the Memorial Wall, more black granite panels tell the story of all the conflicts in which Ohioans have been lost, beginning with the War of 1812.

Gold Star Father Statue, Ohio Veterans’ Memorial Park

The Gold Star Mother and Gold Star Father statues are each embracing a folded American flag, and stand for the parents who lost a child in the service. 

Captain Josh McClimans Granite Bench, Ohio Veteran’s Memorial Park

More than 75 black granite benches honoring Ohio’s fallen veterans are located throughout the Park. 

1963 AH-F1 Cobra Helicopter

The Cobra helicopter shown above flew over 100 hours in Vietnam, and was last stationed on the U.S.S. Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier. Cobra helicopters are still in use today.

M60 Patton Tank, Ohio Veteran’s Memorial Park

The M60 Patton tank was a donation from the VFW in Defiance, Ohio. Introduced in 1960, the 84,000 lb. M60 Patton tank was crewed by 4 personnel and had a top road speed of 30 mph.

Husqvarna Auto Mower Robot, Ohio Veteran’s Memorial Park

On a much smaller scale, the Husqvarna Auto Mower Robot was hard at work trimming the grass at OVMP each time I visited. For its dedication to lawn duty, the Husqvarna mower proudly displays its Purple Heart. 

Waterfall, Ohio Veteran’s Memorial Park

The granite and steel displays at OVMP are complemented by beautiful garden landscapes, including a waterfall, shown above, that feeds a stream which empties into a reflecting pool with an eternal flame flanked by a 50-foot replica of the National Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C., shown in the photo below. 

National Vietnam Memorial Replica with Eternal Flame

While visiting I was fortunate to meet Gary Kindig, a Vietnam War veteran and president of the Ohio Veterans’ Memorial Park. Kindig explained that OVMP was established in 2007 on 1.7-acres donated by the nearby Clinton Cemetery, and honors Heroes from all branches of service. The park is continually expanding its displays, and is working on a memorial inscribed with the names of nearly 2,000 Ohioans killed during the Korean War. 

Family of Heroes Hall with Cross, Ohio Veteran’s Memorial Park

The Family of Heroes Hall displays 32,768 overhead dog tags hanging from 6-inch chains in a Soldiers’ Cross. Each dog tag represents one of Ohio’s military killed in action from WW1 to the present. Granite tiles with images of Ohio veterans adorn the outside wall of the hall, which is filled with fascinating displays of military history. 

The Ohio Veterans’ Memorial Park is open to visitors every day of the year, and is located at 8005 Cleveland Massillon Road, Clinton, Ohio 44216-8918. For more information, call (330)-529-4001 or visit the OVMP website at: www.ovmp.org

“A nation that does not honor its heroes will not long endure.” – Abraham Lincoln.

The next time you are in the vicinity of Clinton, set aside an hour to walk the pathways and admire the magnificent displays of granite and steel at the Ohio Veterans’ Memorial Park, dedicated to honoring the Ohioans who paid the ultimate price for our freedom.  

Photography Notes: I visited OVMP three times over the Memorial Day holiday, and experienced bright sun, cloudy skies, and dramatic evening lighting. Although I had packed my Nikon SLR gear and a tripod, all the photos I made at OVMP were taken handheld, using my iPhone 11 Pro.

 

 

 

   

   

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Ian,
    Thanks for your great feature on the Vets Memorial. It’s been a few years since I hiked with you in the Valley for Birding adventures and I always appreciate your superb lens work..
    U.S. Air Force
    Vietnam Veteran

  2. Chris,

    Thank you for your service and for your kind comments on the Ohio Veteran’s Memorial Park article.

    Ian Adams

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