Welcome to Alden!
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
I Love a Parade!
Well, actually it's not the parade as much, as the reason for the parade! A few years back, I learned
that Alden was no longer going to hold a Memorial Day Parade. It seems the powers that be, (who ever
they were) had decided to concentrate all efforts, on the parade held downtown, during "Alden Days."
Shortly after learning about the demise of the Memorial Day Parade, I happened to meet up with Guy Barber,
Alden's own W.W. II Bronze Star recipient. When I told him the news, he exclaimed, " Well, I'm marching
down the street, even if I march alone." It was then I knew, he wasn't going to march alone. I've often though
that motto which says, "Fools rush in, where angels fear to tread" so, without skipping a beat, I told Guy,
he would not be marching alone!. I went home and started making some phone calls to groups, who had
previously participated in the parade. One group had already been contacted and told they wouldn't be
needed that year. After doing some fast talking, I managed to persuade them, that they were indeed wanted,
and needed, in our parade. Upon contacting the American Legion Color Guard, I learned that no one, had told
them the parade had been canceled! I could only imagine, what would have happened with just one, lone,
Bronze Star recipient, and the color guard, marching through Alden!
The morning of the first parade, that I had ever organized
dawned, and I whispered a little promise to my "Daddy"
who passed away, at the age of 29, from a heart attack,
while serving in the U.S. Navy. "This one'sfor you Daddy," I
said. Walking out into the kitchen, to grab my first cup of coffee,
I realized, I didn't have any horses marching in the parade. I
told my husband, "well, it's too late now, to worry about horses,
maybe next year." A short time later, as we were turning down a
side street on our way to the parade staging area, there were two
riders on horse back, carrying American Flags. I rolled down the
window, as one of the riders asked, " Do you know, if there's a
parade today?" " Follow me" I said! At the staging area, everyone
had arrived and sat waiting. Waiting for ...... waiting for, me! I hastily
lined the participants up, gave the signal to start the parade and it
worked! The Mancelona Band started playing, the boy scouts, the color guard and veterans, started marching, the Shriner's
float, the antique autos, all proceeded down the parade route, followed by the horses and the South Torch Lake Fire Depart-
ment. Alden, had its Memorial Day Parade! It wouldn't be, 'just another day' to picnic and party. Alden would remember,
remember, those who had paid the ultimate price for our freedom!
Later that evening,after the parade, as I sat in euphoric exhaustion,
a faint memory of something crossed my mind. Was I imaging it? As
if to validate that memory, I lifted the lid on a little box containing
precious little letters from a father, to his little daughter, and there,
in the last letter he wrote, prior to his death were these words! "Dear
Little Angel Girl, Someday, when you are a big girl, maybe daddy can
get you a nice horsy." As I organize the parade each year, many people
stop to thank me for "saving the parade". It is now my honor, to be
known as "Alden's Parade Lady!" and each year, as I leave for the
parade staging area, I whisper, " This one's for you, Daddy!"
Friday, May 27, 2011
FREEDOM IS NOT FREE
by Kelly Strong
I watched the flag pass by one day,
It fluttered in the breeze;
A young Marine saluted it,
And then he stood at ease.
I looked at him in uniform,
So young, so tall, so proud;
With hair cut square and eyes alert,
He'd stand out in any crowd.
I thought... how many men like him
Had fallen through the years?
How many died on foreign soil?
How many mothers' tears?
How many pilots' planes shot down
How many died at sea
How many foxholes were soldiers' graves
No, Freedom is not Free.
I heard the sound of Taps one night,
When everything was still;
I listened to the bugler play,hy
And felt a sudden chill;
I wondered just how many times
That Taps had meant "Amen"
When a flag had draped a coffin
Of a brother or a friend;
I thought of all the children,
Of the mothers and the wives,
Of fathers, sons and husbands.
With interrupted lives.
I thought about a graveyard
At the bottom of the sea,
Of unmarked graves in Arlington.No. Freedom is not Free!
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