Cost of Freedom, 2015

Like so many family-oriented, close-knit communities, the three communities are proudly patriotic. Twinsburg is the perfect locale for hosting an event honoring our veterans and safety services. In September 2012, a postcard was delivered to the Twinsburg Historical Society from a company in Texas promoting the traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall. The letter was passed along to Commander Joe Jasany, who immediately broached the idea of bringing the tribute to his fellow members of the 4929. In December of 2012, the Texas company provided information, including the cost of the exhibit, to Commander Joe. The cost for bringing the wall to Twinsburg was $16,000, an amount Post 4929 wasn’t even close to possessing, so Jasany went before City Council to ask for funding. The Council agreed without a second of hesitation to donate $5,000. In quick succession the Township and Reminderville gave $6,000 and $5,000, respectively, effectively paying for the wall.

There was still a great deal of funding needed for security, construction of a replica Vietnamese village, and a variety of other expenses. The Cost of Freedom Fundraising Committee held approximately fifteen fundraising events to raise funds for the event. In fact, so much money was raised ($88,000 overall) that a surplus was accrued and given to veterans in need.

From July 1 to July 5, 2015, Twinsburg’s VFW Post 4929 presented the Cost of Freedom Tribute event. According to the City of Twinsburg website, “The Cost of Freedom Tribute is a one of a kind outdoor tribute depicting honor, respect and remembrance of those who have given the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our country. The mission of the traveling tribute is to create a forum for communities to come together for all those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for their country and to educate all to the cost of freedom. The AVTT, or American Veterans Traveling Tribute, travels the USA bringing this traveling tribute to as many communities as possible.” The event featured much more than just the tribute wall. There were exhibits from every era, including a 9/11 exhibit built entirely by a retired firefighter from Macedonia.

Somewhere in the vicinity of sixteen to twenty thousand patrons visited the wall during the holiday weekend it was displayed in Twinsburg. It was open twenty-four hours a day with clergy stationed in a comfort tent the entire duration of the event. The majority of veterans visited the tribute in the cover of the darkest and most desolate hours of the evening and morning. The experience was too emotional and personal for them to share with the public. A couple of videos were produced to commemorate the event, one produced by Cable 9, the other created by a local high school student.

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