Decoration Day and More

Memorial Day. Wow, I’m so glad the Vice President wished for us to have a good weekend. We made it good, as usual.

Twenty-eight years ago the Dumont Legion asked Hans (our eldest) to play Taps for funerals and Memorial Day services. The family went along to the Memorial Day events at five cemeteries. Dawn started singing the national anthem at them as well. Hans moved on, but his mom is still singing. Various students and a federal bureaucrat have filled in on taps. Steve is great and unnecessarily apologizes for his imperfect trumpet. The Legion bought a fake trumpet that broadcasts Taps because the school would not let kids out to play for funerals during the day. The terribleness of the recorded music compared to live music inspired them to find a way to provide a real person.

Out here in the country we are all hermits to a degree. After we’ve been set free of the government’s Covid lockdowns, the joy of socializing was a bit more intense for me. Very emotional, as we ran into a couple people who had lost loved ones way too early. I hope our hugs offered some comfort. My standard line in these situations is, “We now have a responsibility to carry on their excellent influence.”

Ceremony was sparse and to the point as the preacher tied history and present together well, in relation to the theme of Memorial Day. I appreciated the lack of reference to veterans and focus on those who lost their lives as Decoration Day was intended. Progress is fine but like the evolution of law in the United States, it can diminish the original intent.

There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t appreciate the service of the people honored on Memorial Day. I’m not going to join the chorus of partisan complainers on the Vice President. The day was a time to connect with our neighbors behind a common idea. Those who have been lost to government’s blunders went into it with the intent of preserving relationships like we maintain or renew on Memorial Day. Kamala Harris’ destructive views on the role of government shouldn’t get in the way of community, ever.

I can’t go on here though, without expressing dismay at the proliferation of the phrase, “They died to preserve our freedom.” That idea could be found in wars dating back from World War II and even then has its questionable points. But since then freedom has mostly been granted to lobbyists and war profiteers who have drained our wealth and mercilessly abused our military personnel.

On a lighter note, after reuniting with friends and family at Memorial Day services, Tuesday brought the first Hampton Municipal Band performance of the season. This is the one-hundredth anniversary of the band. Like the conversion of Fleetwood Mac from a blues band to pop, I even enjoyed the Disney medley.

In 1921, Fort Dodge Municipal Band Director, Karl King sponsored a bill allowing communities to impose taxes funding community bands. After the Municipal Band Fund law passed, he composed “Iowa Band Law March,” which Director Chris Sauke had the band play Tuesday night.

In 1921 the country was in the grips of a recession that rivaled the one in 2008. Andrew Mellon, President Warren Harding’s treasury secretary guided Harding to lower income and corporate taxes and reduce spending and regulations. Harding had his faults but compared to Franklin Roosevelt’s 16-year depression and the lingering effects of George W. Bush’s stimulus in 2008, Harding’s granting of freedom to the American people was a heroic act. Unemployment fell from 12% to 3.3% for the remainder of the decade.

There’s a difference between a community of 5,000 and 330 million. I’ll make an exception to my limited government stance when it comes to the Iowa Band Law because of that. But I wouldn’t doubt that our community would voluntarily step up if the band was ever in need from this point forward. 

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