MARION, Ohio –
Between rain showers that blanketed central Ohio, local political leaders, historical group members and U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers celebrated the accomplishments of the 29th President of the United States July 21 in his Marion, Ohio hometown with a wreath laying ceremony in his honor.
Warren G. Harding served in political offices beginning with Ohio state senate, then lieutenant governor of Ohio before he entered national-level politics. He was elected president in 1920 and died while in office in 1923.
Each year, the Warren and Florence Harding Presidential Sites host a weekend-long symposium focused on one aspect of Warren G. Harding’s life. The wreath laying ceremony features a member of the Harding family, along with a representative for President Donald J. Trump, place a wreath at the gravesite of Harding and his wife, Florence.
“Harding’s vison reaches across generations and helps provide the leaders of today a strong foundation on which to build,” said Brig. Gen. Tony L. Wright, deputy commanding general for the 88th Readiness Division who served as the presidential representative for the wreath laying ceremony. “We are grateful, as a nation, to be able to stand upon these foundations and construct a better path to peace and prosperity.”
This year, that theme for the Harding Symposium is ‘Harding and the Press’ and it focused on the former president’s connection, and ties, to the fourth estate.
At the age of 19, Harding purchased a struggling local paper in Marion, Ohio. From there, he built the paper into what is now the Marion Star – a newspaper that remains in print today. His newspaper platform allowed Harding to venture into politics. He quickly rose through the local and state level offices before being elected to the United States Senate in 1914. He then became the first sitting senator to be elected president in 1920.
But, throughout his time in politics, Harding remained steadfast in his support of the press.
“President Harding knew with every fiber of his being that a free press was essential to a democracy,” said Sherry Hall, the Harding Home site manager. “He knew it worked on behalf of the people, not only providing information and, often, food for thought, but in shining a light in the darkest corners of our society. It wasn’t perfect then, it’s not perfect now, still President Harding was proud of being a newspaperman.”
Events like the wreath laying ceremony and the Harding Symposium allow a community to celebrate one of its own who went on to achieve the greatest of achievements: president of the United States.
“It is well documented that President Harding loved this community,” said Rep. Dorothy Pelanda, a member of the Ohio House of Representatives for the 86th District. “I like to think that there were many times in the Oval Office where he thought of this wonderful city and the people who populate it. President Harding rose to the highest of highs in his life, but he never forgot where he came from.”