Eric, Matt and I went to the Memorial Day celebration in Avoca on Monday, which is hosted and organized by the Avoca American Legion and Auxiliary. We have attended the event many times in the past and always enjoy it.
This year I laughed on Monday morning when I yelled upstairs to wake up Matt.
“I have to go?” he whined.
Yep, he had to go. He didn’t put up too much of a fuss, and too be honest, I really enjoy waking up teenagers.
Two of the gentleman who went on the Southwest Minnesota Honor Flight were the guest speakers – two men that had lived in Avoca for as long as I have known them. George Opdahl and Denis Schneider are both World War II vets, as are several other people in town.
They had us chuckling at the description of some of their adventures, especially the whirlwind atmosphere of the two-day trip.
“I’m glad to say there were no casualties,” Opdahl reported. He was also remarkably interested in the fact their lunches in Washington D.C. were delivered by Federal Express.
Schneider described the process of packing his luggage into a duffle bag, then showed off his hat, shirt and jacket. He also sobered the audience by talking about how many men and women who served their country are buried in foreign soil.
Both men were vastly entertaining and had the audience smiling, laughing and listening.
The program was very interesting and included a reading by one of the auxiliary members regarding facts about the men who serve to guard the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. I smiled later that day when I overheard Matt talking to his friend Cole and telling him what he had learned about the tomb.
A fun part of the program for me was singing alongside Matt, who is just finishing up his junior year. The choir he belongs to at Murray County Central based their last concert on patriotic music, so Matt was singing the tenor parts of the songs we sang Monday. We sounded quite nice together, if I do say so myself.
My dad was one of the members of the color guard, which was cool. He stood tall (as tall as he can for a short guy) and proud as he carried a weapon that guarded our flag.
Matt expressed an interest in wanting a gun like the one my dad carried for the salute, so we teased him about joining the service, putting in his years, being honorably discharged, joining the legion and being allowed to carry a gun for the salute some day.
“Or you could just go to an army surplus store and buy one,” Dad mentioned.
“That sounds much easier,” Matt said.
The Legion members put on a very nice luncheon for everyone afterward, and it was fun to watch Matt, my folks and their good friends Ron and Dee visit and chat.
The whole event was very nicely done, so kudos the men and women of the Avoca Legion, and a special shout-out to George and Denis, both Legion members, both willing to share their adventures and both very good men.