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I had prepared a new ad, with new, updated information and then ran the old ad from last year, with outdated info.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 Marcellus as the guests of family and friends.  The “tribe” as some calls them, is close friends that help each other and others and who enjoy camping at various places.

They have always made Anne and I welcome to stop by and as such we have visited some very nice campgrounds in the area, from those close by to others an hour or so away.

It should be no surprise that all are well managed and bustling with friendly and happy campers.

What is a surprise, to me, is that there are so many campgrounds in the region; all unique with their own special attractions.

Anne and I camped many times when our youngsters were young and we tended to return to favorite spots.  When the grandkids arrived, we were “camping” in a lake front spot in a house trailer. While we always had great times, I’m thinking there were more adventures to be had by moving around to more locations

Social Security supports people battling cancer

In 2018, more than a million people will be diagnosed with cancer around the world. This alarming statistic affects people and families everywhere. On June 3, 2018, we observe National Cancer Survivors Day in the United States. In support of this day, Social Security encourages getting checkups to provide early detection, raises awareness through education, and recognizes the survivors who have gone through this battle or are still living with the disease.

Social Security supports people who are fighting cancer. We offer support to patients dealing with this disease through our disability program. People with certain cancers may be eligible for a Compassionate Allowance. Compassionate Allowances are cases where individuals have medical conditions so severe they obviously meet Social Security’s disability standards, allowing us to process the cases quickly with minimal medical information.

There’s no special application or form you need to submit for Compassionate Allowances. Simply apply for disability benefits using the standard Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) application. Once we identify you as having a Compassionate Allowance condition, we’ll expedite your disability application.

Social Security establishes Compassionate Allowance conditions using information received at public outreach hearings, from the Social Security and Disability Determination Services communities, from medical and scientific experts, and from data based on our research. For more information about Compassionate Allowances, including the list of eligible conditions, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/compassionateallowances.

Some illnesses are more disabling than others and Social Security tries to treat everyone with equal compassion relative to their condition. If you think you qualify for disability benefits based on a Compassionate Allowances condition, please visit www.socialsecurity.gov to apply for benefits.

Vonda VanTil is the Public Affairs Specialist for West Michigan.  You can write her c/o Social Security Administration, 3045 Knapp NE, Grand Rapids MI 49525 or via email at vonda.vantil@ssa.gov.

Happy Memorial Day?

Recently hearing Roger Whittaker’s ballad, “I don’t believe in ‘If’ anymore”, I was reminded of visits to Gettysburg’s and Manila’s military cemeteries, both with fields of endless rows of well-kept grave markers. I cannot help but consider what intense grief and loss each of these stark stones silently represents. Row upon row, marking those who would never be seen by family again. Fiancés that would never exchange vows, students who would never complete their studies, empty seats at Thanksgiving dinners. How can we not grieve again for each of these?

But this, being war, those stones, though seemingly innumerable, cannot compare to the volumes of lives lost that will never be so well-commemorated.  Bystanders in the wrong place at the wrong time, unable to escape the violence suffering, and death.

But these stones. Each one a mute marker of a story that would never be told, a story of generations to come, now lost, never to unfold.

“Happy Memorial Day?” We are, of course happy for our freedom. It has been bought, however, at greater cost than we could imagine.

How can so much loss be a seed for hope? Only in the resurrection and the sure promises of God can any hope be found here. Nations rise and fall. God’s Word endures forever. As for now, they wait under these stones. And we wait. God will not need stone markers to find those whose hope was in Him.

So now they wait.

Privates and generals

Lie side by side here –

Damp earth a new home for each.

Taps for each has played.

Reveille to come.

The Bible talks about a “reveille” resurrection trumpet in two places, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, and 1 Corinthians 15:51-57. Angels will be facilitators, and those resurrected at that future event will be believers in Jesus Christ.

So now they wait. And we wait. It’s important to be ready.

Top Pop Contest… Deadline is noon Friday, June 15

Looking for the area’s

“Top Pop” for 2018

Father’s Day is Sunday, June 17, and some lucky Tri-City Area dad will be the happy recipient of many great gifts, compliments of the Tri-City Record and its advertisers.

The winner of this year’s “Top Pop” contest will be selected by the staff of the Record from letters written to the paper during the contest period.

Letters to the paper, nominating your “Top Pop,” should tell why he is the greatest. In 200 words or less, list some of the things he does to deserve the award; and be sure to include his name, your name, and your telephone number. Letter writer or nominee does not have to be a subscriber to enter.

Send your letter to Tri-City Record, P.O. Box 7, Watervliet, MI 49098 or email record@tricityrecord.com. All letters will be published in the Record as close to Father’s Day as possible.