Monday, May 29, 2017

From Thousands to Two Dozen: Isadora Memorial Day Ceremony Dwindles

The Memorial Day Ceremony at Isadora used to be one of the biggest draws of the county. As late as the 1930’s and 1940’s, there would be a sea of people filling up the entire Isadora Cemetery decorating the graves. There were even more people across the road in a picnic area. The young people would march into the cemetery from the picnic area and decorate the cemetery with flags.

The town itself still had a huge blacksmith shop during the 1930’s and ‘40’s, first run by Jack Wake and then by his son, Gary Wake. Now, it is a small village with a small building for the West Fork Boosters 4-H Club, the Isadora Church of Christ, and a few homes nestled in the timber. Blaine said that sometimes, while doing funerals at the cemetery, he could hear the turkeys in the surrounding timber calling.

Now, the ceremony draws two dozen people to come and remember the soldiers who gave their lives for their country. There were a few songs sang, the Pledge of Allegiance was sung, and the tributes to the Armed Forces were sang.

Jeff Blaine, Pastor of the Sheridan Christian Church, spoke. He spoke of Heinrich Severloh, otherwise known as The Beast of Omaha. He was a German soldier. The Germans doubted his loyalty; in 1942, he was punished for allegedly making dissenting remarks and forced to perform extreme physical exertions which left him with permanent health problems.

But when he was transferred to Normandy, Severloh nearly single-handedly kept the allied forces at bay during D-Day. The allies came with 2 million soldiers, 448,000 tons of ammo, and 13,000 aircraft flown in support. During the initial assault on D-Day, in the biggest amphibious operation ever, 160,000 men were ferried across the English Channel to Normandy. Around 14,674 air sorties were flown in support of the D-Day invasion.

Severloh defended a position named “Easy Red,” and began opening fire at around 5 am local time. He fired for nine hours, using up 12,000 rounds and was credited with inflicting anywhere from 1,000 to 3,000 of the 3,800 to 4,200 American casualties singlehandedly before he ran out of ammunition nine hours later, retreating, and later surrendering to the Allies. Afterwards, in The Scotsman, he recounted in 2004 waking up that morning to a wall of ships that looked like it was stretching all the way back to England.

Afterwards, Severloh became a Prisoner of War, being held first in the US and later in England before being released in 1947. In his own words, he said, “There was no glory that day. Just good men dying.”

In the 1960’s, Severloh formed an unlikely friendship with David Silva, a chaplain who was wounded by three bullets in the chest at Omaha Beach. They met in the 1960’s and later in 2005 at a reunion of Allied forces in Normandy. Spiegel TV, a German network, did a documentary in 2004 in co-production with the Canadian Broadcasting Company about the unlikely friendship.

“I believe Severloh should have surrendered,” said Blaine. He said that we will all meet our maker, and that it was wise to surrender to Christ now. He said the Allied soldiers in Normandy came for one purpose – to preserve freedom. In the same way, Blaine said that Jesus was the way to eternal peace. “There will only be two people at the end – those who surrender, and those who have not.” Reading from Revelation 19:11, Blaine talked about Jesus as the insurmountable force who will bring judgement at the end along with the Word of God.

Debbie Thummel played “Taps” to close off the ceremony.

At Grant City, World War I Heroes Remembered 100 Years Later

Grant City American Legion Commander Dr. Matt Martz recalled the heroism of John Hunter Wickersham, who gave his life during World War I during the Memorial Day Ceremony in the Worth County Courtyard Monday. Wickersham was wounded during the St. Mihiel Offensive during World War I in France on September 12th, 1918. He was severely wounded in four places by a high-explosive shell. Before receiving any aid for himself, he dressed the wounds of his orderly, and then continued to direct the advance of his men. He fired his revolver with his left hand until he finally fell and died for his wounds. In memory of his sacrifice, he received a Medal of Honor.

The day before his death, he wrote the following poem to his mother:
The mist hangs low and quiet on a ragged line of hills,
  There's a whispering of wind across the flat,
You'd be feeling kind of lonesome if it wasn't for one thing—
  The patter of the raindrops on your old tin hat.

An' you can't help a-figuring—sitting there alone—
  About this war and hero stuff and that,
And you wonder if they haven't sort of got things twisted up,
  While the rain keeps up its patter on your old tin hat.

When you step off with the outfit to do your little bit
  You're simply doing what you're s'posed to do—
And you don't take time to figure what you gain or lose—
  It's the spirit of the game that brings you through.

But back at home she's waiting, writing cheerful little notes,
  And every night she offers up a prayer
And just keeps on a-hoping that her soldier boy is safe—
  The Mother of the boy who's over there.

And, fellows, she's the hero of this great, big ugly war,
  And her prayer is on the wind across the flat,
And don't you reckon maybe it's her tears, and not the rain,
  That's keeping up the patter on your old tin hat?

Another soldier who gave his life was recognized by Dr. Martz. Mark DeAlencar was shot and killed by small arms fire while fighting in eastern Afghanistan last month. He left behind a wife and five children. Dr. Martz noted that DeAlencar, told to lose weight to reenlist, did so.

“Our enemies want us dead,” said Dr. Martz. “Our armed forces are doing all they can to protect us. The children of fallen warriors will grieve long after the guns fall silent.”

Dr. Martz noted that some gave their lives in humanitarian causes. In 1975, as South Vietnam was falling, President Ford authorized Operation Babylift, an operation to evacuate orphans from that country and place them in foster homes in the US. Over 2,500 children were relocated during the course of that operation. During that operation, a C-5A Galaxy plane had the locks of its rear loading ramp fail. Frantic efforts by the crew of the plane were not successful and 138 people were killed, including 78 children and 35 Defense Attache Office Saigon personnel. 173 people survived, and all of the surviving orphans were flown to the US. The pilots, Captain Dennis “Bud” Traynor and copilot Captain Tilford Harp, both survived and were awarded the Air Force Cross for extraordinary valor after their actions were credited with the survival of the 173.

Lloyd Ridge gave the prayer and benediction. Joe Marshall led a salute to the deceased veterans. The Worth County Mixed Choir sang the National Anthem and “In Flanders Fields.” Ralph Kobbe played “Taps.”

Afterwards, a singing contest was held at the Senior Center. Dora Martz was first, followed by Unique Brown and Rachael Brown. John Kollitz also performed a couple of numbers before heading to a couple of concerts in Iowa. Dora Martz and Unique Brown sang “Jesus Loves Me” together, while Dora sang some songs as well.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Allendale Automotive LLC to Mark 6 Months in Business

On Thursday, June 1st, Allendale Automotive  LLC will mark its 6th month in business. They were formerly Mike’s Garage. They are doing a promotion; the 300th person to like their Facebook page will get a free front wheel alignment.

Male Beauty Pageant to Return to Hopkins Picnic

The Male Beauty Pageant will return to the Hopkins Picnic this year. Ladies can have fun dressing up husbands. The audience will enjoy the “ladies” clowning around on the stage and providing prime entertainment for the picnic. To enter, contact Sara Wyer Coleman or Richard Frampton.

Sheridan Christian Church has Cookbooks for Sale

Sheridan Christian Church has cookbooks that are available for mail order. Go to and go to Community Cookbooks. It will list cookbooks by state, then follow the directions on that page. Cost is $15 plus $7.20 for postage and handling.
The cover is elaborately decorated and there are many different recipes. One is for chicken and noodles for a crowd. Another is for crock pot chicken spaghetti. Another is for BBQ crockpot chicken.

Sheridan Rodeo Set for June 23rd and 24th

The third annual Sheridan Rodeo will be held once again at the Sheridan Rodeo Grounds during Old Defiance Days. It will be held 7:30 nightly. Admission will be $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 5-12, and free for 5 and under.

There will be 9 championship events – bareback riding, calf roping, saddle bronc riding, barrel racing, steer wrestling, team roping, breakaway roping, bull riding, and over 40 calf roping. The event is sanctioned by the IRA, URA, and MRCA. Grand River Rodeo will be the stock contractor.

During the intermission, there will be a box auction, a 50/50 drawing, and for Saturday night only, there will be a Kiss the Pig. After each show, Snakebite will have music at the tavern from 9 to 1 both nights.

Sheridan CBC Horse Show Rescheduled for June 4th

The Sheridan CBC Horse Show that was to have been held in April has been rescheduled for June 4th at the Rodeo Grounds in Sheridan. Registration will start at 12 pm, with the show starting at 1 pm. There will be four age groups; 8 & under, 9-13, 14-18, and 19 & over. Cost for the events will be $5 per event, with 50% payback. There will be barrels, poles, key hole, and flag races.