Posts Tagged ‘Memorial Day’

Happy 100th Birthday

This year marks two centennial anniversaries.  Of course, the most famous being the launch and sinking of the SS Minnow (err,,) RMS Titanic.  Today, our village celebrated the anniversary of the dedication of Clem, the Civil War Monument that first stood at the intersection of Michigan Avenue and Indiana Street until it was moved to its present location on July 22nd, 1972 (just under a year before the author of this post made his own appearance in the world).  Clem’s dedication date was May 30th, 1912 but what a lovely (if a little warm ) day to honor him.

My preparation for the day began shortly after my recital.  I had been asked if I would be interested in performing a few songs for the day around the time of “Songs I Have Learned” but really had hard little aside from the inquiry.  The songs I had to choose from was vast.  I figured two from the Civil War era would be appropriate or anything patriotic.  I decided on first, “Aura Lee” a little ballad written during the period which lent its melody to a very popular song made famous by a past artist which was the title of his first movie.  ANYONE?! (no cheatin).  With some help, I also decided on “Just Before the Battle, Mother” another lovely tune that was popular (with different lyrics) on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line.

I was going to perform the pieces accompanied by my guitar-playing coach.  Unfortunately, she forgot that she had a prior commitment today.  I eventually decided that I would sing them a capella unless a suitable accompaniment track could be found.  Fortunately, yesterday I was informed that another performer for the event had a copy of “Aura Lee.”  Because I was really unfamiliar with my second selection, I decided to sing “America the Beautiful.”  A good thing I did, because the other singer was singing “Just Before the Battle…”

This morning, I made my way to the bandstand where the accompaniment tracks were waiting.  I could have sung them either way but the tracks were both easy to perform to even if they were in a lower key.

So, after the Right Honorable Mayor /Friendly Friar made his opening remarks and the high school band played a few pieces, I was invited to take the stand and performed my “five pieces.”  It could have been five; however, the other singer stole at least three of the pieces I had considered (“Oh, Shenandoah,” “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” as well as the aforementioned piece).  I was congratulated on my performance by several members of the crowd who braved the temperatures.  At least there were not trains that passed by as happened a few years ago when my cousin and I performed during our summer festival.

All in all, a fun little ceremony and a very fitting tribute to Clem and all the service men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice.  Hopefully, we all made a special effort to remember them today but also everyday.



A Weekend of Fun and Remembrance

Sunday after I got off work, I had a familiar sight on the caller id.  Soon after I got home, I was on my way to Hillsdale, MI to Silo’s Fun Park.  Quite a place: go-carts, bumper boats complete with squirting action, mini golf (did not endulge… the bumber boats were fantastic).  On the way there, we got separated from the lead driver when we did not make it through a red light; however, we soon found out thst they were in the drive thru of a rather sloooooooow Burger King.  DING!  I can see if they have the elusive Spock glass.  On the drive-thru menu there was the ad for the cups so… I asked if they had the commander’s cup.  “Sorry, we are done selling the cups.”  OK… we would like three cherry slushes.  “Sorry, we only have coke and orange creme.”  SUE BK for false advertisement.  But Silo’s was a ball.  I loved the bumber boats with the added thrill of being able to shoot the others.  Even the fountain under which I got a good dousing more than once was fun.

I did rather well on the go-carts until the final lap.  I was ahead of my three co-racers until the final lap when something went awry.  All of a sudden, I was slowing down and finally came to enough of a crawl to just make it into the stopping point.  I believe I was third of our group.

After the fun was done, treats finished, and elaborate gumball machine was watched, we set out on the return journey to the sound of Little Shop of Horrors playing in the car.  If I can’t be in Joseph this summer, I can devote extra time to the audition for the next show. After dropping Megan and Carol off at their car, I went to the nearby BK and completed my glass collection and got some dinner.  The price was good so I got a full set so I could have one to keep and one for use..

Today being the day in which we honor all those who have fallen making the supreme sacrifice in order to defend our country, I walked along with the high school/junior high band, Scouts, and American Legion in their parade to the cemetery for services.  I had to question the director’s decision to play while they marched into the cemetery.  I think the one time a marching band should be solemn and relatively silent is while marching into a burial site.  I remember entering to a slight cadence by a drummer tapping lightly on the side of a drum in order to keep the marchers in step.  The ceremony consisted of patriotic readings, music, and a salute by the American Legion. My favorite part, as it has been for as long as I can recall, is the floral tribute by the children.  Armed with bouquets of flowers, many little ones from the Scouts to toddlers (who were assisted by parents) stormed the makeshift stage.  I often wonder how many actually realize what the flowers symbolize.  Hopefully as they age, they will come to understand that they are remembering those who have been lost in defense of freedom at home and abroad.  May we all do so.

On a heavier note, my cousin who moved with her husband and daughter to Alaska had to return for a few weeks following the passing of Rich’s father.  They flew in last night around midnight after Rich returned from Afghanistan.  Ironically, a few weeks after he returns to the Army, Rich will be back for the arrival of their second child.