During the city of Powell's annual Veterans Day ceremony, Craig Carmichael urged his fellow countrymen to become students of history.
Carmichael, who served with the U.S. Navy in the Marshall Islands during World War II, was the keynote speaker for the Nov. 10 ceremony. The 94-year-old Liberty Township resident stressed the importance of looking toward yesteryear for lessons.
"If we don't learn the lessons of the past, we will continue to make the same mistakes," he said.
Carmichael, who spent years collecting and distributing stories of WWII through his own newsletter, said the study of history has led him to conclude countries must be ready for war if they want to have peace.
"We must be prepared as a nation to protect our freedom, because freedom is an elusive thing," he said.
Carmichael said he worries the cultural and political divisions that exist in the U.S. today undercut the nation's ability to defend itself. He described the situation as "dangerous" and "tragic."
"I think in my lifetime, I've never seen this nation so divided as I see it today," he said.
Carmichael's speech was followed by musical performances by students from Village Academy. After the performances, the Columbus chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution presented Carmichael with a quilt to honor his service.
Ohio Auditor Dave Yost and Powell Mayor Brian Lorenz offered opening remarks ahead of Carmichael's speech.
Yost said the country's veterans "put aside selfish interests in favor of the greater good."
"Every veteran has chosen to put America first, not merely in words but by their actions," he said.