The small community of Blossburg took great pride in remembering its veterans on Memorial Day. It not only remembered the veterans from the borough but from the surrounding area.
For Scott Ostrom, a Gold-star father and military veteran, it had an even more sentimental feeling. He also remembered his son, Ryan Ostrom. He was killed in combat in the Middle East.
“He was a good scholar, he was going to Mansfield University. This was his second deployment,” Ostrom said. “He was going to be a science teacher. He got involved in teaching boys basketball and so forth.”
Ryan lost his life in Habaniyah, Iraq. He was 25-years-old when he died in 2005. He enlisted in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, serving his nation just like his father did for 33 years.
“I had an honor, a very good honor. I was lucky, I got a full-time job and took care of a lot of soldiers,” Ostrom said. “I’m proud of them, what they achieved.”
Veterans, friends, and residents gathered at the borough’s Veterans’ Memorial for the solemn ceremony.
The names of veterans from Blossburg and surrounding area were read aloud, including Ryan’s name. It followed with a 21-gun salute and Taps played on the bugle.
“When they sacrificed their lives for our country, their idea of our country wasn’t Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City or Iowa,” Shane Nickerson, the borough’s mayor said as he read a eulogy. “It was Blossburg, it was Covington, it was Arnot, It was Morris Run, it was Tioga County.”
“I thought it was a patriotic thing to do,” William Nickerson, a Vietnam War Veteran, said. “That’s what it meant to me, to help this country.”
Nickerson fought in that war but said he hid his service because of the scorn that followed then. Now, he said he is glad Vietnam Veterans are getting the recognition that was long overdue.
“Without their sacrifice, we wouldn’t be able to celebrate a day like today,” Nickerson said.