MANSFIELD -- The key moment to honor, think of and thank military veterans in the United States is an easy one to remember -- the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month."
The United States celebrates Veterans Day on Monday, a day that originated as Armistice Day on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I.
Locally, Mansfield will mark the occasion Monday with its annual Veterans Day Parade, starting at 10:30 a.m. at the five-way light at the intersection of Park Avenue West, Marion Avenue and Bowman Street.
The parade will travel down Park Avenue West to Central Park and end at the Gazebo.
At 10:50 a.m., a "40 & 8 Boxcar" will fire off 11 volleys, 1 per minute to honor all veterans. Immediately after the 11 volleys are fired, the Veterans Day ceremony will start at the Gazebo at 11 am.
The title "40 & 8" comes from the box cars that were used to transport troops to the front in France during World War I. Each car had the emblem 40/8 stenciled on the sides, which meant it could carry 40 men or 8 horses. These cars were known as forty-and-eights.
Col. Troy Cramer, the mission support commander of the 179th Airlift Wing of the Ohio Air National Guard, is the parade's grand marshal and featured speaker.
Cramer's team at the unit based at Mansfield Lahm Regional Airport includes civil engineers, firefighters, communication specialists, logistics readiness, security forces, personnel staff and food service professionals supporting federal, state and community missions.
Cramer, who earned a bachelor's degree in environmental science from Bowling Green State University and two master's degrees from the University of Findlay, joined the 179th in 1990. He was promoted to colonel earlier this year as he assumed his current role.
Cramer has been honored at many levels for innovative accomplishments and elected by his peers to serve on various field advisory councils. In 2014, he and the 179th Medical Group were recognized for their innovative accomplishments and cutting-edge approach in patient care. While serving as the military personnel flight commander, the organization was recognized by the U.S. Air Force Air Mobility Command with the Gerrit Foster Outstanding Military Personnel Flight of the Year Award in 2008.
In 1998, Cramer was selected as the State of Ohio Outstanding 2nd Lieutenant of the Year.
There will be 30 to 35 units marching in the parade this year. Along with area veterans' groups, marching bands from Mansfield Senior High School, St. Peter’s High School and Clear Fork High School, an assortment of fire trucks and military equipment and other area groups will participate.
In the event of inclement weather, the Veterans Day Service will be at AMVETS Post # 26 at 1100 W. Fourth St.