Celebration recognizes real American hero
by Terra Temple, Planet Reporter
Jun 13, 2012 | 1642 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Acting as color guard during the opening ceremony of the Superman Celebration, U.S. Army officers SFC Michael Nelson, SFC Terrance Smith, SSG Andrew Ford and Sgt. Lori Jones raise the flag sent by U.S. Navy PFC Ty Bjornson, inset. The flag, which was Bjornson's thank you to the City of Metropolis, flew over the 34th annual event.
— Planet photo by Terra Temple
Acting as color guard during the opening ceremony of the Superman Celebration, U.S. Army officers SFC Michael Nelson, SFC Terrance Smith, SSG Andrew Ford and Sgt. Lori Jones raise the flag sent by U.S. Navy PFC Ty Bjornson, inset. The flag, which was Bjornson's thank you to the City of Metropolis, flew over the 34th annual event. — Planet photo by Terra Temple
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While the 34th annual Superman Celebration marked the 40th anniversary of Superman adopting Metropolis, Ill., as his hometown, Celebration attendees had the chance to honor a real hero.

During the event's opening ceremony Thursday, co-chairwoman Karla Ogle noted there was one fan who would not be able to attend.

Petty Officer First Class Ty Bjornson is serving his country in the U.S. Navy Reserve as a mass communication specialist in the public affairs office for the Joint Task Force at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

A lifelong Superman fan, Bjornson had attended six Celebrations since 2001.

"At each visit, I have found the good people there to be wonderful and inviting," read co-chairwoman Lisa Gower from his letter. "At the Celebrations, I make new friends and I am always made to feel welcome."

Because he could not attend this year's Celebration, Bjornson wanted to give something back to the town that "has been good to me."

After Gower read the letter, members of the U.S. Army — SFC Michael Nelson, SFC Terrance Smith, SSG Andrew Ford and Sgt. Lori Jones —  acted as color guard and placed the flag on the pole at the Superman statue. It flew over the Celebration until its closing on Sunday.

The flag, which originally flew over Camp Justice at the U.S. Naval Station in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, "is my way of saying 'thank you' to the city, the Celebration and Superman fans for all the good and camaraderie they've bestowed upon me over the years," Bjornson wrote.

"It is my privilege to be deployed with our U.S. Armed Forces and to serve daily with the real-life supermen and superwomen of our great land," he continued. "These hard-charging professionals selflessly serve our country and safeguard our nation's freedoms on a daily basis 24/7. Thank you very dearly for your gestures of goodwill and continued friendship."

The flag and its accompanying certificate will be on display "in a prominent place in the City of Metropolis, either the Chamber of Commerce or the Mayor's office, because we're pretty proud of that," said co-chairwoman Karla Ogle.

The opening ceremony also served as the culmination of the city's "Truth, Justice, American Way" street signs. Superman himself, Josh Boultinghouse, revealed them at the Superman statue.

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