The USS Cleveland CL-55 was commissioned by the US Navy on June 15, 1942. The ship saw extensive service in the war. She was used in both the Mediterranean and Pacific Theaters.
She was the second ship to be named after the City of Cleveland, Ohio. The first was the Protected Cruiser (C-19) from 1903-1929.
There was also a third ship names after the city, Cleveland (LPD-7) was commissioned April 21, 1967. This ship was decommissioned in San Diego on September 30, 2011 after more than 44 years of service. As was the case with most of the ships serving during the war, Cleveland was decommissioned in 1946 after the war ended.
Gary Singletary told of the USS Cleveland's history including a tour as General Douglas MacArthur's ship. He then introduced Mayor Frank Jackson.
Now, sixty five years later, the bell of the USS Cleveland has found a permanent home in the Rotunda of Cleveland City Hall. In a touching Veteran's Day Ceremony in the Rotunda the bell was unveiled and given to the city as a lasting tribute to the crew who served on her. Some of the original crew was present.
USS Cleveland crew members with ship bell
Martin L. Flask, Director of the Cleveland Department of Public Safety began the ceremony with a welcome.
Martin L. Flask
Gary Rezabek, SFC US Army (Ret), National Director 82nd Airborne Division Association served as Master of Ceremonies.
The Colors were presented by the Cleveland Department of Public Safety and the Sons of the American Revolution.
Son of the American Revolution
Lisa Padro-Baire sang the National Anthem and Reverend George Hankins, Chaplain of the Cleveland VA Medical Center gave the Invocation.
Lisa Padro-Baire sang the National Anthem
Rimantas Ray Saikus, president of Joint Veterans Commission of Cuyahoga County acknowledged the dignitairies and others in attendance.
Rimantas Ray Saikus
Lt. Colonel US Marine Corps Reserve Arturo G. Hernadez, who is also an assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, gave a moving Keynote speech - one that reinforced our need for gratitude and respect for the men and women who have served on our behalf.
Lt. Colonel Arturo G. Hernadez
He called for veterans to stand in recognition of the era in which they served. As far back as pre-WWII and as recently as today, men and women stood proud of their service and ready to answer their country's call should they be needed again.
Recognitions and Proclamations were next on the agenda. Posthumous Vietnam Service Awards were presented to the family of Marine CPL Steve Victor Mylant who was killed in action July 10, 1967. His mother and other family members were there to receive medals Steve had earned that had not been issued.
Family of Marine CPL Steve Victor Mylant, KIA July 10, 1967
Nephew and mother of Marine CPL Steve Victor Mylant
Also receiving an award was Lucy Stickan, who earned the Service to Veterans and Community Award -as a Citizen Honoree.
Lucy Selvaggio Stickan and Ray Saikus
Lucy Selvaggio Stickan and George Brown from Senator Portman's office
Douglas C. Ely, LtC US Army (Ret) earned the Service to Veterans and Community Award as a Veteran Honoree.
Douglas C. Ely and Ray Saikus
Ronald W. Atkins, MSGT US Marine Corps (Ret) was awarded the 2011 Outstanding Student Veteran honor.
Ronald W. Atkins
The honorees emphasized how humbled they were to receive an award for what they considered to be a small contribution compared to the sacrifices of our veterans.
Patrick McLaughlin, President of the Greater Cleveland Veterans Memorial Inc. spoke about the Vietnam War 50th Anniversary.
After the singing of God Bless America and a Benediction, Amazing Grace was played on the bagpipes.
Edwin Zelek, Polish Legion of American Veterans, ended the program by playing Taps.
Edwin Zelek playing Taps (at top of flag)
Honoree Lucky Stickan with Grace Kudukis
Chaplain Hankins and Lt Colonel Joe Meissner
Christian, Lisa and Lucy Stickan with Lt Colonel Arturo Hernandez
Congratulations to all the Honorees and Thank You to all Veterans Top of Page