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Annual Veterans Day program in Eden Park aims to recognize service members, families

The color guard of VVA Chapter 10 raises the flag on Veterans Day in 2019.
Tana Weingartner
The color guard of VVA Chapter 10 raises the flag on Veterans Day in 2019.

"All gave some; Some gave all." On Memorial Day, Americans pause to honor those who have died in service to their country. On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, we take time to thank and honor all who have served in the Armed Forces.

This Veterans Day, members of Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) Chapter 10 are hosting their annual ceremony at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Eden Park.

"The program is in recognition of service men and women and we've been doing it for over 25 years," says Edward D. Brown, president of VVA Chapter 10. "It's just a tribute to all the men and women who have served."

This year's guest speaker is Cincinnati Council Member and President Pro Tem Victoria Parks. Her service record includes four years in the Air Force, earning an E-4 ranking. She trained and served as as personnel specialist. According to her council biography, she was awarded the Air Force Longevity Service Award and Air Force Good Conduct Medal.

Brown calls the ceremony an uplifting experience that honors veterans and their families. He notes that when a service member is deployed, the ones who stay behind have to work extra hard. They also have to deal with the emotional weight of missing and worrying about their loved one.

Brown is a long-time member of VVA Chapter 10, but he says he didn't join right away. As a member of the Army, Brown served from April 1966 to April 1968, exiting the military as a Specialist Fourth Class. He describes his feelings at each year's ceremony as overwhelming.

"It's something that for a long time I did not participate in, so for me to be participating in it now, it's a great joy and a great feeling," he explains. "I didn't believe my service meant anything to anybody other than to myself."

He says that changed when he started talking and listening to other veterans.

That's what VVA Chapter 10 is inviting the public and veterans to do Friday at 11 a.m. in Eden Park.

About that famous phrase

The phrase, "All gave some; Some gave all," is widely attributed to a Cincinnati native. Howard William Osterkamp of Dent, Ohio, served in the Army during the Korean War from 1951 to 1953. He experienced heavy combat, along with his unit, and was awarded the Purple Heart.

While fighting in Korea, Osterkamp sustained a broken leg. However, his injury was misdiagnosed and he was sent back to the front lines for four months with his leg broken in two places.

There's evidence he didn't coin the phrase. If you dig deep enough, you'll find references to the phrase in newspaper articles andother places that pre-date Osterkamp's usage. One school of thought is he said something along the lines of "like they say, 'All gave some; Some gave all" and it went on to be attributed to him, thus bringing it more prominently into the American lexicon. Country musician Billy Ray Cyrus riffs on the phrase in his song Some Gave All off his similarly named album from 1992.

Osterkamp was born in North Fairmount, attended Western Hills High School, and was drafted into the Army in 1951. Osterkamp died in 2016 at the age of 86. He's buried at New St. Joseph Cemetery on Cincinnati's West Side. He was interviewed by the Library of Congress' Veterans History Project in 2008. He was interviewed again in 2018 by the Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library. You can watchthe full video below.

Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.