Ceremony set for hometown hero

Ruth A. Koon - Guest Columnnist

It is with great pleasure and pride that the Friends of the Piqua Parks invite the entire community to the dedication of the statue of William H. Pitsenbarger on Saturday, Nov. 14, at 10 a.m. at Pitsenbarger Sports Complex.

The mayor of Piqua, Lucy Fess, presented our committee with a proclamation naming Nov. 14 as William H. Pitsenbarger Day in the city of Piqua. A proclamation was also read honoring all veterans on Veterans Day in the city of Piqua.

This project is finally coming to fruition after almost a year and a half. The Friends of the Piqua Parks have raised over $100,000 for the improvements to Pitsenbarger Sports Complex and for the statue of its namesake, William H. Pitsenbarger. The community response to our plea for funding and the many foundations that responded has enabled our committee to bring a long overdue tribute to this hero.

This was a young man who unselfishly gave his life for his wounded comrades. On April 11, 1966, after saving the lives of nine of his fellow warriors he himself was killed and died on the battlefield in the jungle of Vietnam. Of the 134 soldiers who began the battle that day, only 28 survived. Nine of those survivors were due to the courageous efforts of Pitsenbarger. In 1966, he was awarded the Air Force Cross and in 2000, was awarded our country’s greatest honor the Congressional Medal of Honor. There are only 3,500 recipients of the Medal of Honor in the United States and we, here in Piqua, are honored to say that we have such a hero from our community.

He graduated from Piqua Central High School in 1962. After graduation, Pitsenbarger enlisted into the Air Force and became a pararescue and medical specialist. His story is one of courage, valor and sacrifice as verified on the website HomeofHeroes/Wingsof Valor/Pitsenbarger.

His stepmother, Alice Pitsenbarger, will be joining us Nov. 14, as well as Ohio Sen. Bill Beagle and the 88th Air Base Wing Commander at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Col. John Devillier. Many of his classmates from the class of 1962 will be joining us also.

The six-foot bronze statue of William H. Pitsenbarger will be unveiled at the ceremony and this statue will be given to the citizens of Piqua. For generations to come we hope that our residents and visitors to our community will be able to learn about him and be inspired by his love for his fellow man and for his commitment to his country. God Bless America!


Ruth A. Koon

Guest Columnnist

Ruth A. Koon is the president of Friends of the Piqua Parks

Ruth A. Koon is the president of Friends of the Piqua Parks