A Fully Vaccinated Memorial Weekend In Iowa

Saturday marked the two week mark after my second Moderna Covid Vaccine. You know what that means, don’t you? To me it means “ROAD TRIP.” And it was an especially special road trip because it was the first time since Christmas of 2019 that my two brothers and I have been able to get together with my 85-year old dad, who lives in Iowa.

We had a great time, of course. We cooked and ate together. There was a lot of joking and laughing and making fun of each other. In other words, it was just like when we were growing up in Iowa several decades ago. There was no need to get get reacquainted. There was no need to catch up on what we’ve been doing for the last year-and-a-half. There was no need to reminisce. We just got right down to the business of tomfoolery.

Yesterday I managed to get out for a two-hour bike ride. Here, just before the deadline, comes a few pictures of things I’ve never photographed before:

Here is the most colorful water tower in all of Oelwein, Iowa. I was a proud Oelwein Husky a long time ago.
There is no way I could have taken a picture of this Oelwein husky statue in the front of the high school, because way back in 1976 it didn’t exist.
I hadn’t photographed this little diorama in front of an antique shop before either.
Another never before seen picture taken just outside of Oelwein.

Here is a picture of me in an Old Grumbleface-like pose atop an Oelwein boulder. I’ve never taken that before.

Those pictures were taken yesterday. This morning we went to the Oelwein cemetery for the town’s 153rd annual Memorial Day ceremony. I was amazed at that number–153. The ceremony included a prayer for those who sacrificed their lives for our country, the raising of the American flag while the high school choir sang The Star Spangled Banner (quite well, I might add,) the shooting of guns by members of the local chapter of the national guard, and the bugling of “Taps.” There was also a speech by a local dude who is an officer in the United States Coast Guard.

Oelwein seems to have a lot of veterans for a town that size. Many of them have died in various wars. One of those people who died was my nephew, Seth. And guess who knew Seth?

The first half of the speech given by the Coast Guard officer was about his career in that branch of the military. The second half of the speech began when he said “today is not about me though.” Then he proceeded to tell about how he knew another Oelwein kid. He had gotten together with that kid one night and it happened to be the night before he was going to Coast Guard boot camp and that other kid was being deployed to Iraq. Yes, that kid was Seth. And when the Coast Guard guy heard several months later that Seth had been killed in Irag, he cried. “And that,” he said, “is what Memorial Day is all about.”

There are more than 700 flags in the cemetery today.

Seth’s picture at the Iowa State Capitol.

Hi. My name is Greg and I ride my bike a lot. That is to say, I ride my bike almost every day. I go on long rides and short rides. Sunny rides, cloudy rides, and rainy rides. I like commuting, errand-running, day-tripping, overnighting, and touring on my bike. I ride on city streets, highways, gravel, single track, and snow with equal enthusiasm. Sometimes I ride fast and sometimes I ride slow. I try to keep my feet on the pedals at stop lights and I do not dismount when I hop up on a curb. I have a roadie bike, a mountain bike and a touring bike. I try to accept any challenge a bike ride can throw at me without complaint. But I don't like bugs.

5 response to "A Fully Vaccinated Memorial Weekend In Iowa"

  1. By: Laura Posted: May 31, 2021

    Great you could be at the Memorial Day remembrance. I’m impressed with you on the rock holding the bike. I can barely get mine high enough to put it on the car rack and it’s a small bike.

  2. By: Bill Stone Posted: May 31, 2021

    Thanks for the tour and the Memorial Day commemoration. I’m sure you feel the same way about Seth as I feel about my cousin Mac, KIA in Vietnam.

    Meanwhile, I reckon now I gotta go climb on a rock and lift the Ogre into some kind of pose. First I need to start working out!

  3. By: Rich-Illinois Posted: May 31, 2021

    A very poignant story that clearly brings the meaning of Memorial Day home to all.
    Thank you.

  4. By: NancyG Posted: June 1, 2021

    Beautiful story, great memorial ceremony, and nice photos to share about your OLD town.

  5. By: Lednar De Nalloh Posted: June 1, 2021

    Wars deliver so much grief and misery. I’m thankful to those who fought, suffered and died and also glad I’ve existed in a relatively peaceful place and time.

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