Local veterans overwhelmed by giant mural honoring their service

A Marine Corp veteran and a woman who lost her husband in Vietnam scoured to find the images along the timeline on display at the Trumbull County Fair

The Spirit of America's Story, also known as "The Wall," on display at the Trumbull County Fair

CORTLAND, Ohio (WYTV) – Each year, the Trumbull County Fair offers a wide variety of food, fun, and games. But one display is turning heads for a different reason this year.

Honoring not only our nation’s veterans but our first responders and the Native Americans who were here first — it was a task two years in the making and the result is currently on display at the fair.

The Spirit of America’s Story is a mural, 92 inches tall and 100 feet long, full of breathtaking images depicting 1775 through the present day. The story behind it is just as incredible as those images.

Patricia Sexton, co-founder of “The Wall,” won’t soon forget March 15, 1971.

“I lost my husband in Vietnam. Fourteen minutes later after I lost my husband, our son was born,” she said.

The remains of Patricia’s husband, David, have yet to come home to her and their son.

From that day on, Patricia said she had a hole in her heart and decided to use her loss as a way to honor veterans while she grieved.

“I feel like I’m now giving back, compared to what our soldiers do in giving back to us. So to help honor my husband, I was allowed to put his face…on the wall to honor him.”

In 2013, Patricia, along with Ron Smith — the wall’s founder and a Marine Corp veteran — got to work finding the images they wanted to include in the mural designed by Canfield artist
Ray Simon.

“We actually researched these images, too, about three months finding these images, and spent another three months putting them into the timeline,” Ron said.

As they stood in silence, some local vets were taken by the pictures.

“In a way, it’s overwhelming a bit. They did a real nice job,” David Joo said.

David Jackson said it’s “really neat.”

“You can come around and see everything that led up through our history.”

Patricia said it’s their wall, not hers.

“This is their wall to represent and thank them.”

On Friday, Pat and Ron are inviting all veterans to visit the wall so they can honor and thank them for their service.

The Spirit of America’s Story will be on display until the fair ends on Sunday.