Alexandria's Fun Days theme of "homecoming" continued through July 18, when local veterans from all conflicts were remembered and honored by festival-goers during an hour-long ceremony.

Alexandria's Fun Days theme of "homecoming" continued through July 18, when local veterans from all conflicts were remembered and honored by festival-goers during an hour-long ceremony.

The special event kicked off with patriotic songs by the jazz band Ain't Misbehaving, followed by the laying of a wreath at Maple Grove Cemetery by Boy Scout Troop 24 and the Vietnam Veterans of America, Licking County Chapter 55.

Fred Nichols and Ed Hankinson dedicated a Bicentennial Veteran's Plaque.

"I've lived all my life in this area," said Hankinson, a 1950 graduate of Alexandria High School. "They say all gave some and some gave all."

Service personnel left home, delayed careers, marriage and families in order to serve in the military, he said.

"A few gave their lives and today we dedicate the service they gave to their country," Hankinson said.

Veterans from each conflict spoke during the ceremony including Bob Nichols, World War II; Bill Bumbauld, Korean War; Howard Kern, Vietnam War; Michelle Bamgarner, Cold War/reserves; Craig Parmer, Desert Storm; and Gabe Sharrock, Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Kern, who served as emcee, retired from the U.S. Air Force in 1988 after 23 years. During his military career, he spent a year in France and Vietnam and was on 13 bases in 21 years.

"I did what my country asked me to do, and went where I was asked," Kern said. "The true heroes are those who didn't have a chance to marry or bounce their grandkids on the knee. Those who aren't with us today are the true heroes."

Martha Sturgill, who organized the Veterans Ceremony, said she felt humbled throughout the program.

"I grew up during Vietnam," she said. "I think what our guys do is very special. Thank you to every vet."

Sturgill suggested local residents participate in the Military Sunshine Box Program that provides necessities to local service personnel. The program in Alexandria is coordinated by Gloria Miller, Mary Lou Hankinson and Ina Rae Kean.

"The boxes are sent twice a year to guys overseas," Sturgill said. "The guys really appreciate personal notes, letters and local news clippings. The stories I've heard of what's going on through this ministry are really something."

The Alexandria United Methodist and Baptist churches serve as sites where residents can drop off items for the boxes. Suggested items include beef jerky, chewing gum, toothbrushes, toothpaste, peanuts, snack crackers and small jars of peanut butter.

In addition to the military tribute, Fun Days also saw its well-known Tractor Pull run from Friday evening until approximately 3:30 a.m. on Saturday morning.

Other crowd favorites included the "Pie in the Eye Auction," where onlookers bid to throw a whipped cream pie at well-known local officials or Alexandrians. With a line-up including Northridge Superintendent John Shepard, Alexandria Public Library Director Denise Shedloski, area resident Joyce Drumm, Alexandria UMC Pastor Mary Sandberg, Alexandria Mayor Harold Lee, council members Karen Holt and Steven Hicks, and St. Albans Township Firefighter Matt Mason, the event raised $559 for the Alexandria Fire Association.

Organizer Syd Kean said Fun Days was a huge success.

"People were more willing to put money out, knowing it went to local groups," she said. "They were pleased the rides were such a reasonable price, as well as the carnival games."

Fun Day sponsors that also helped with games included Creekstone Highlands, Flying Dozer Learning Center, Village Spa, village of Alexandria, Elaine and Gail Roberts, Tonya Orahood, Alexandria Public Library, Pylantech Canopies, Velvet Ice Cream and Ohio Fresh Eggs.