Gahanna's Memorial Day celebration Monday at Veterans Memorial Park was a bit unusual, with veterans thanking the community.

Gahanna's Memorial Day celebration Monday at Veterans Memorial Park was a bit unusual, with veterans thanking the community.

They thanked Gahanna for supporting the recent Honor Flight, which takes World War II veterans to the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. They also thanked them for the veterans memorials in the city.

Franklin County Commissioner Paula Brooks presented the Gahanna veterans memorial committee with a "President's Award" for its support of veterans and for reusing granite from the former Franklin County Veterans Memorial to make benches at the Gahanna vets memorial.

Memorial Day activities for Gahanna started at 1 p.m., with Gahanna Parks and Recreation director Tony Collins commenting on the growing crowd.

"Each year we bring out another bleacher," he said. "And it's not quite enough."

About 200 people attended Monday's ceremony.

This year, 19 of the 32 WWII veterans who went on last month's Honor Flight from Gahanna were present at the ceremony.

The Rev. Don Swift, one of those WWII veterans, thanked Gahanna for making the flight possible.

Swift shared details of his trip, ending with the greeting the veterans had received from 250 Gahanna residents as they came home that day.

"I'm proud to be a 'Gahannanian,'" he said. "I'm proud to be an American, and I'm proud to be a veteran."

Tom Gregory, Gahanna Lincoln High School teacher and an organizer of the local Honor Flight, said another round would be held in spring 2010. He said the Gahanna Rotary already has agreed to pay for half of the cost.

The Gahanna veterans memorial committee also installed 44 more brick pavers at the memorial. The committee allows those who want to memorialize a loved one to buy one or more pavers.

They are dedicated twice a year: on Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

An inscribed paver of three lines with 19 characters on each line costs $25. For $2 more, the buyer gets a certificate of notification about the placement of the paver.

For more information about pavers, call 342-4350 or visit www.gahanna.gov or www.gahannavets.org.