Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Mystery speaker to dedicate memorial

By Erica Solvig
The Cincinnati Enquirer

MASON - An internationally known visitor will be on hand to help dedicate the city's veterans memorial next month, but the identity of the guest is anyone's guess.

The city had invited President Bush to the Nov. 8 ceremony, even sending him more than 1,500 letters from local students requesting his presence.

Rep. Rob Portman's office has helped secure a guest, but will not tell anyone - even city officials - who it is because the keynote speaker does not want his name released until the ceremony.

"We have to honor the speaker's request," said Nan Cahall, Portman's local district director. "We don't anticipate that it's President Bush. An invitation is still at the White House, and they often don't respond until closer to the event. But that's not the person who has accepted the invitation."

The memorial, being built in front of the city building, 6000 Mason-Montgomery Road, features an eternal flame, wall of tears and pillars representing different wars. The dedication starts at 2 p.m. with music. The mystery guest is scheduled to speak at 3 p.m.

City officials say they are waiting for direction on what security arrangements will be needed.

"I've asked six different ways who it is," Mayor John McCurley said. "They won't tell me anything. ... But they have indicated that my expectations will be met."


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