Springer and grandson Shelby Springer from Kettering speak with Dennis
Sullivan about military weapons
used during World War II at the Veterans Symposium held at Edison
Community College on April 10, 2012.
Symposium Brings Stories of Service to Edison
Edison Community College...
Seven military veterans with service in conflicts ranging from World
War II to the current Afghanistan War took to the stage Tuesday night,
April 10, at Edison Community College to share their stories for the
Library of Congress Veterans History Project, in a symposium that
brought a captivated audience into the horrors and hidden humanity of
The evenings events began with a screening of Bradford filmmaker Diana
Spitler’s “World War II on an LST,” a chronicle of the lives of her
relatives during war in the Edison cafeteria. The film is currently
archived at the Library of Congress.
A series of displays throughout the college atrium brought veterans,
scholars and military historians together for a presentation of
uniforms, weaponry, photographs and artifacts. Displays were provided
from groups such as the Miami Valley Veterans Museum, the Piqua Ohio
Veterans Memorial and various private collections.
Inside the Edison Theater, a crowd of nearly 150 sat quietly as the six
veterans were introduced by Dr. Phil Lootens, who served as a staff
sergeant in the U.S. Air Force from 1967-71 and later as a lieutenant
colonel in the Ohio Army National Guard from 1978-2004.
“Giving voice to the military experience is difficult for most
veterans, yet it is important that non-veterans understand,” said
Edison faculty member Vivian Blevins, who was the coordinator for the
event. “The diversity of the speakers’ presentations, the humor, the
seriousness, and the patriotism in the words they shared, gave me
information and each touched me in very special ways.”
World War II veteran Harry Ashburn served as a corporal in the U.S.
Army from 1942-45. Ashburn spoke of growing up in the Great Depression
and serving in the Pacific Theater, before returning home to Altoona,
Rev. Floyd Murray, a specialist 4th class in the U.S. Army First
Calvary Air Mobile, served in Vietnam from 1965-67. Murray spoke on the
close ties that he shared with his fellow servicemen, and the
character-building experiences that he received by joining the
In addition to the speakers, military artifacts and historical
documents were on display outside the theater throughout the night.
“The professionals from the World War II Historical Reenactment Society
identified for me, from pictures, the type of bomber my Uncle Bill
Adams flew in World War II and that an unidentified relative in an old
photo album was wearing the military uniform of an American in the
Spanish American War,” Blevins said. “I was then able to put a name
with the photo.”
The symposium will add the interviews of more than 40 veterans
collected by Edison students working with Blevins to the Library of
Congress, the Miami Valley Veterans Museum in Troy and the Edison
“We responded personally and individually to the symposium and I loved
seeing the veterans talking with each other,” Blevins said. “I thought
it was extremely important that our students expanded their
understanding of the world through the displays and the presentations
as well as their projects.”
Schinaman, left, and his father Pete of Tipp City look over some of the
military gear that
was on display during the Veterans Symposium held at Edison
Community College on April 10, 2012.
War II veteran Harry Ashburn, left, addresses a crowd of about 150 who
attended the Veterans Symposium
held at Edison Community College on April 10, 2012. Also pictured on
stage: Edison President Dr. Cris Valdez,
Ben Hiser, Rev. Floyd Murray, Reginald Hickmon, Brandon Brown and Will