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Salute the Troops at Put-in-Bay

Salute the Troops at Put-in-Bay

Perry’s Victory and Miller Boat Line join forces to honor Gold Star Children, veterans and active duty personnel 

Every Memorial Day weekend the community of Put-in-Bay and Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial join forces to honor America’s veterans and active duty military personnel. This year’s “Salute to the Troops” ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 24, at 1 p.m. at Perry’s Victory Visitor Center and will honor children who have lost a parent to war, according to Superintendent Blanca Alvarez Stransky.

The guest speaker will be Mitty Griffis Mirrer, an independent documentary filmmaker, award winning journalist, and military survivor who has spent the past decade gathering the voices of widows, widowers and children of war from two generations. Mirrer also founded Gold Star Children, a non-profit organization, which uses film and interactive media to raise awareness about children who have lost a parent to war.  

In 1997, Mirrer earned a regional Edward R. Murrow award for her documentary series about her own family’s journey to Vietnam. Through the documentary series, Mirrer began to understand the loss of not knowing her Marine father, William A. Griffis III, who was killed in Vietnam in 1970. More importantly, Mirrer discovered the impact on her life of never talking about his life or his death. Mirrer produced and directed a documentary titled “Gold Star Children”, which follows the parallel journeys of two generations, today’s war orphans and the now-adult children whose fathers were killed in the Vietnam War.  

This award winning documentary will be shown on May 24 at 11:30 a.m. and at 2:30 p.m. in the Perry’s Victory Visitor Center. “The first one hundred people will receive a free copy of ‘Gold Star Children’, thanks to Eastern National, a cooperative association that operates the bookstore in our Visitor Center and whose mission is to support educational activities at Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial,” said Stransky.

There will also be a reading of two original poems honoring America’s fallen by Put-in-Bay Local School students Nora Ladd and Hannah Lentz. The students volunteered to write and read a poem dedicated to those killed defending our country, said Stransky. Also participating in the ceremony will be the United States Naval Sea Cadet Corps Region 4-1 and vocalist Debby Parker. Port Clinton residents George and Mary Krejci will lead the annual sing-along.

In conjunction with the NPS activities, Miller Boat Line will offer free passage to Put-in-Bay (departing from Catawba) for active duty military and veterans as part of the Memorial Day weekend festivities on South Bass Island.

“We really appreciate the generosity of the Miller Boat Line in support of our annual ‘Salute to the Troops’ event at Perry’s Victory,” said Superintendent Stransky. “We are looking forward to honoring America’s armed forces and hope our local veterans and active duty military take advantage of the free transportation to our Memorial Day event.” 

Miller Boat Line asks that military personnel and veterans simply identify themselves at the ticket booth to obtain free passage to Put-in-Bay and the “Salute the Troops: Honoring Gold Star Children” ceremony at Perry’s Victory. Those wanting to attend the ceremony are encouraged to take the 11:30 a.m. or 12 noon ferry departing Catawba. Upon arriving at Put-in-Bay, military and non-military personnel wishing to attend the “Salute the Troops” event will receive free passage on the Tour Train from those scheduled trips.

The ceremony starts at 1 p.m. and will be held on the back porch of the Visitor Center. For additional information about this and other special events at the park this summer, call Trudy Roth at 419.285.2184 or visit nps.gov/pevi.

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