After canceled ceremony, Smyrna honors veterans with banners at businesses

Ben Mace
Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times
The banner from the Town of Smyrna honoring Army veteran James Sbarra is on display at Atlantic Apothecary. Banners honoring the veterans selected by the mayor and council members for the 2020 Veterans Day proclamation are also on display at the Smyrna Diner, Bridge Way Restaurant, Trevi Restaurant, The Painted Stave, Guzzy Q Restaurant and Smyrna Cards and Gifts.

Smyrna’s traditional Veterans Day ceremony had to be canceled due to coronavirus precautions, but the town is bringing attention to veterans at stores and restaurants.

Each year, the town honors seven veterans, selected by the mayor and each council person and then displays banners along streets including Market Street Plaza and Glenwood Avenue.

This year, the town is also displaying the banners at businesses, to give people the chance to see them up close.

Here are the veterans who are being honored this year:

Ernest Freeman, Air Force – nominated by Councilwoman Tabitha Gott, banner on display at Smyrna Diner;

Edward Hibbert, Air Force – nominated by Vice Mayor Valerie Forbes, banner on display at Bridge Way Restaurant;

Robert Ryan Jr., Air Force – nominated by Councilman Bill Pressley, banner on display at Trevi Restaurant;

John Patrick O’Connell III, Navy – nominated by Councilman Michael Rasmussen, banner on display at The Painted Stave;

Woody Gill, Army – nominated by Councilman Gerald Brown, banner on display at Smyrna Cards and Gifts

James Sbarra, Army – nominated by Mayor Robert Johnson, banner on display at Atlantic Apothecary;

Mark Riell, Air Force – nominated by Councilwoman Maggie Mann, banner on display at Guzzy Q Restaurant.

The mayor and council approved a proclamation detailing the service of these veterans and honoring all veterans at the Nov. 2 council meeting.

“The Town of Smyrna is extremely honored to join with communities across the nation in the celebration of Veterans Day,” the proclamation states. “We are very proud to be the home of courageous men and women who have worn the uniform, defended our great nation, and have fought for freedom, liberty, and peace around the world.”

The seven veterans were honored for “unwavering and dedicated service to our town, state, and nation” and for ensuring “our country still stands strong, our founding principles still shine, and nations around the world experience the blessings of freedom.”

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