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Letters to Editor

Honor Flight To Washington DC

Jack Brokaw of Biggsville was one of the World War II veterans that got the chance to go on an Honor Flight to Washington DC on Saturday, April 24, 2010.

Brokaw said, "The trip was exceptional and I was impressed by how they covered everything for our comfort and convenience. There were 168 on the plane and the reception at the airport must have included around 700 or 800 people who welcomed us back."

One surprise that overwhelmed Brokaw, was on the return flight when a "Mail Call" was held for the veterans just as it had been during their service. He received letters from 6 high school students and a most meaningful letter from his son, Steve, which he wanted to share with all veterans and others:

24 April 2010

Dear Dad,

World War II. No other conflict has ever been on such a scale or carried with it threats of such dramatic and far reaching proportions.

With only minor exceptions, every nation, every person, on this planet at the time, was involved or affected in some way in what can truly be described as an epic struggle between good and evil.

While many toiled on the farms and in the factories or doing whatever else they could to support the herculean effort mounted to achieve victory, there were the individuals who stepped forward and put themselves in harms way to personally take the fight to the enemy.

This morning, you are on a journey to visit a hallowed site set aside to commemorate the sacrifices of all those who put themselves on the line in this great struggle.

It is appropriately called an Honor Flight to reflect the deep feelings of a grateful nation.

You will feel so many emotions during this passage; the connection back to the exuberance and adventure of youth, the blood pumping reminiscences with compatriots who shared the same experiences, the gratitude for having survived and the guilt for the same.

You will be deeply touched as you stand in the midst of this heartfelt memorial and remember those who were lost in the fight and those lost since.

But please know that you are all honored, those who survived as well as those who perished. For all had a part in saving humanity from tyranny, and those who lived on have proven they could carry the responsibility for putting the world back together again.

Immerse yourself in this journey, Dad. I pray you feel the love, honor, and respect that flows from all of us blessed to be living in this wonderful freedom won and paid for by such patriots as yourself, and your fellow vets on this Honor Flight.

With appreciation and love.



Now I Understand, Mom

By Elaine Slater Reese


Know that I think of you often- but this special holiday I sit down and allow myself to really reflect.

That actually means to laugh and to shed some tears as I think of you.

You're my mom - I've always loved you. I know that you always loved me. But the older I get, the more I wished I had done so many things differently. I was your stubborn, strong-willed child.

Remember the day I was just three years old and you told me to quit running circles on the hardwood floor. Of course, I disobeyed.

When they had to put stitches in my face twice because I didn't listen, you never said "I told you so!" You just held me and kissed my forehead..

You wanted to teach me to prepare meals, bake desserts, and can and freeze fruits and vegetables. I remember once we canned tomatoes all day.

As we were pushing the whole tomatoes into those Mason jars, I purposely pushed one so the juice would squirt in your face! I wanted to be outside with the flowers, the garden, and the animals.

You made my sister and me sweep and dust every Saturday morning. Cleaning the bathrooms was even worse!

Only after I had my own children did I realize you were just doing "your motherly duty" do teach us to do those things. I always thought you stayed awake at night just thinking of ways to make my life miserable.

I remember what I now consider one of my worse "sins".

I had a terrible cold, and you issued the edict that I could not put on my cheerleading outfit and go to the team's basketball game.

There seemed to be no way I could make you change your mind.

In anger and frustration, I screamed at you," When I get old, I will never be fat like you are!" I still remember the hurt in your eyes, but I didn't get to go to the game.

(Oh, by the way, Mom - guess what? No one ever calls me Skinny Minnie. Perhaps that old saying you sometimes used is true. WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND!)

It was always just a given that your children would attend college. You and Dad both did and each rode a horse to the one room schools where you taught. But when I chose where I wanted to go, you answer was no.

You wouldn't help me in that effort unless I studied to be a teacher. So we did it your way. Was I happy about that? NO WAY!

But I guess you must have had a crystal ball somewhere. Little did I dream that things in my life would totally change.

That degree in teaching I had earned made it possible for me to support my family in some difficult times.

Remember our big old dining room table?

I knew what you were going to do when you put all the leaves in it. You placed old newspapers flat on the table top.

Then with no pattern, you grabbed the scissors (the ones we were not allowed to cut paper with) and would cut out your own pattern for a new dress for me.

I remember the time you made me a beautiful winter coat. (And they talk about Joseph's Amazing Technicolor coat!).

You always made birthdays and holidays special - and you were always the one who sacrificed. You made sure I had piano lessons, clarinet lessons. Once a week you drove seventeen miles one way so that we could go to the public library.

I could write my own book about things you did for me. The moment you knew you were going to be a grandmother, you got the old sewing machine out.

Soon, I had stacks of beautiful baby clothes and blankets. And the list goes on and on. And now I realize what was the most important thing you did for me.


Mom, today, I am the one who is OLDER and FAT.

Your journey here was completed eighteen years ago. Now, I have graduated from the SCHOOL OF HARD KNOCKS.

What I learned most there was to appreciate all you did for me.

So this strong-willed, hard-headed, stubborn child of yours is asking your forgiveness for the times I hurt you, for the times I didn't understand.