05-31-2018 Letters and Commentary

BONEHEADED MISTAKE… At about the time Monday afternoon I was fixing to crow about the great special edition last week’s TCR was I got a note from Joe Stepich of the Paw Paw Lake Association. Their half page ad last week, was incorrect.

I had prepared a new ad, with new, updated information and then ran the old ad from last year, with outdated info. I wish to extend my sincerest apologies to all the members of the Paw Paw Lake Association and all the readers that will be misdirected by the wrong information.

As Joe wrote in his letter, “First, the Water Ski Show will be on August 5 at the Paw Paw Lake Yacht Club.  Second, 100 foot rule signs can be obtained from a Lake Association Board member or by contacting the PPLA on its website, pawpawlakeassociation.org.”

The correct ad is on Page 7 of this week’s issue.

REMEMBERING OUR HEROES…  Memorial Day 2018 is now history.  For most the flags are gone, the red, white and blue bunting is stowed away (at least to the 4th of July). The opening day of summer is behind us and we can get on with the summer season.

I guess that’s all right. One day a year is enough to remember our war heroes, the millions of men and women who laid down their lives so we can be free.

To be honest, I have difficulty getting my head around a million of anything.

To many, a million dollars is “chump change”.  There are sports figures and CEOs getting paid millions, some by the month (all overpaid and underworked).  Toss in government and the meaning of a million dollars is all but lost.

So, why do I have trouble visualizing a million war dead, 10 million more, a hundred million dead.  I can remember discovering history, an interest, I’m sure, in the vast numbers of civil war dead.

At 10-11 years old that war was real, it happened just 90 years before I started to read about it. People I knew knew veterans of that war. Wow.

Somehow the vast numbers of dead heroes of the Great War (WWI) and the heroes of WWII hadn’t been dead long enough, I guess, to make an impact on a kid discovering the Civil War.

So, this Memorial Day, I’m at the cemetery listening to a young lady speaking eloquently of the sacrifices of the millions of American heroes who gave their lives to keep our country free.

While it was refreshing to hear her speak, somehow I knew I had heard it all before. At least I had thought it.

The numbers are too big.  There are too many war dead, too many faceless heroes.  But they are only faceless to us as the crowd.

I started thinking about those in the crowd that were remembering loved ones lost in battle, fighting to keep us free.

About that time, Corky Openneer, commander of the Watervliet VFW and a hero himself, read the names of the Watervliet veterans who had died the past year; “Charles Scherer, James Andres, Allen John Crumb, Paul Jach, James Pleyer, James Lull, Michael McDonald, Richard Morlock, and William Mack”.  I knew many of them. I knew folks in that crowd that mourned the loss of them this past year.

We were there to remember the ones we knew and loved that represented all the millions of heroes. The heroes we didn’t know, but we knew what they were like and what they gave up.

It was those names of local heroes that brought the immense courage and sacrifice of them all closer to home.  It was (is) the local commemoration of those sacrifices that keeps the collective memories alive and prevents the numbers of the millions of dead heroes from overwhelming us all.

MEMORABLE HOLIDAY!  With all the great events and weather of the past week May sure went out with a bang.  It seemed the summer-like weather would never come in May with most of the “flower” month chilled with cold nights and mild cloudy days. The Memorial Weekend was truly memorable with high 90 temps and blue skies.  Many of the past weekend events have a history of cold and damp, this year was a notable exception… the classic summer weather helped make the Lane Automotive Car Show a smash hit, the Memorial Day observances to salute our fallen war heroes were under gorgeous skies no matter the day they were held and our lakes, campgrounds, and parks were jammed with folks enjoying the great outdoors.

Anne and I visited the Cranberry Lake Campground near M