Veterans Day program honors past, current events

by Laura Bednar

Independence held its annual Veterans Day program on Nov. 3, honoring military from all branches and recognizing resident veteran John Fabich, who passed away earlier this year at the age of 103.

The event began with the playing of the national anthem by the Independence High School marching band followed by a prayer from Rev. Matt Jordan of St. Michael Church.

Following lunch, John Otero, retired tech sergeant in the U.S. Air Force, spoke about his 20-year career in the military. He enlisted in the Air Force in 1996 on his 18th birthday. His service included five tours in Iraq and a tour in Korea. He said it was difficult to be away from his family but he became close friends with his fellow military men and women. After traveling to many countries, Otero said, “I created a bond and have family throughout the world.”

Resident veteran Dan Day, a retired Air Force staff sergeant, gave an overview of his service during the Vietnam War. He originally planned to become a priest and spent several years in the seminary before deciding it wasn’t for him. He then visited a U.S. Air Force recruiter and was trained to be an operating room technician. Day was sent to Vietnam and noted that the best thing about being there was attending the Bob Hope show. After returning home, he worked at Marymount Hospital where he met his wife, with whom he shares three children and eight grandchildren.

“I don’t talk to honor my past but to figure out what happened in this complicated world,” said Day.

Ron Fabich, son of veteran John Fabich, spoke about his late father who served in U.S. Army Air Corp in WWII as a crew chief in the 17th Bombardment Group, 37th Squadron and a flight chief in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War. John started working on airplanes at the then Cleveland Municipal Airport after eighth grade. He parked airplanes at the National Air Races at age 15 at the same airport, even driving Amelia Earhart’s plane.

He entered the Army Air Corp where part of his duties included working on B-25 bombers. He was in the 17th Bombardment Group, 37th Squadron with five other men, whom he visited with his family during a trip across the United States. “We visited every home of each member he was with,” said Ron.

John was married to his wife for 76 years and had three sons. Ron concluded saying, “[My father] has seen and lived a lot of history, he had a passion for life.”

The program ended with the retiring of 39 “Hometown Hero” banners depicting resident veterans, which were displayed throughout the city. ∞

The Taylor family (l-r) Michelle, William “Bill” Taylor Jr., Macon and William “Corben” Taylor III attended the Veteran’s Day program. Both Bill and Corben are veterans who had “Hometown Hero” banners displayed in the city. Photos by Laura Bednar.

Resident Dan Day gave an overview of
his time in the service and his life after
the Vietnam War.

Photo (main / above): John Fabich (pictured on a banner during his time serving in WWII) passed away this year at the age of 103.