So, I just got home from the dedication of the Iwo Jima mural at Carlson’s Ace Hardware and I must say, it was a great event! Many of the conversations I heard and participated in revolved around “small town” things and the “old guard.” Some of these memories brought laughter and some brought tears, but all brought a community together.
This small town community is what brought me and my family to Prior Lake. As I sit and think about the “old guard,” I realize just how important the sense of community is to me.
The mural depicting the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima has a very personal connection for me. I participate in an event called “vets in the classroom” every year at the high school, and I remember sitting beside other veterans that talked about being there when that flag was raised. How many people can make that statement? My old guard included folks like Tony Conroy, George Pexa, Jim Cates, Jim Speiker, Florian Blumberg, Tom Lannon and many more. Sadly, these folks have left us now, but their memories, stories and the things they did in our community have made an indelible mark on our town. By remembering them, we keep a little piece of them and their stories alive.
So, where is this all leading? Well, while chatting with Tony Albright after the event it became apparent that I am now someone else's old guard. The torch continually passes whether any of us realize it or not. The work of my old guard continues through me and those around me. There will come a day when the torch passes again and with a little luck and some effort, the new guard will have been exposed to our stories and history so they can help continue the cause.
Our today will be history and as such, we have an opportunity to determine what history will say about us. Will we be a hero? A villain? Active participant? Bystander? I intend to be remembered as an active participant in my community and our VFW. With a little luck, I might even be thought of as a positive influence.
Regardless, I wish to be remembered. I think all of us do, so please keep in mind — what you do today will affect someone else's tomorrow and you are a member of someone else’s old guard. Be involved and be kind — history can’t ask more from anyone.