Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Reposessing A Vet Memorial?

May 1966
  When the shroud is pulled away Monday from the new veterans memorial at the Rochester Village Civic Center, the audience might be a little shocked to see a red tag attached carrying a “Balance Due” notice. It might even be more interesting to see how someone repossess a couple tons of granite and hauls it back to Vermont.
   People may finance their homes, cars and furniture with monthly payments, but it seems hardly appropriate to finance a memorial to the war dead this way. The fund now stands $702 short of its $3,000 goal. The Pontiac monument firm handling the transaction has given the Rochester Beautification Council an extra 30 days to pay the bill. It hardly seems possible that Rochester— which has raised thousands of dollars for other projects— would fall short in its tribute to the war dead.
   Many organizations have boosted the fund, but the biggest boost has come from the Rochester High School Student Council. They sold some $900 worth of tickets for $2 each. This ticket allowed one admission to the Hills Theater, but owner Bud Taylor actually donated the admission to the Beautification Council, sponsor of the fund drive. Bud also donated last weekend’s matinee profits to the fund.
   One individual making an unusual contribution was Alfred West, 481 E. Maryknoll Drive. He walked into our office a few months ago with a beautiful oil painting that he had shown in several exhibits and valued highly. The Korean war veteran wanted to contribute it to the Beautification Council to be auctioned off. The painting is now being auctioned off at Mitzelfeld’s Home Furnishings store by submitting written bids. Saturday is the deadline for the bids.
   Meanwhile, the old memorial along Main St. has disappeared. Erected by the Blue Star Mothers during the late World War II years, it had been gradually falling into disrepair. Names of the servicemen had been etched on glass. Those glass plates, many of them broken, are now being stored away by the Village. The eagle atop the memorial has been presented to the Blue Star Mothers.
   NOTHING NEW DEPARTMENT— Every time one believes there is something new on this planet, someone comes along to tell us that it’s old stuff. Take for instance the strike by students at Detroit Northern High School a few weeks back. Old timers might say that such a thing wouldn’t happen when they were kids.
   But I came across an item in the March 22, 1949 issue of The Clarion headlined: “Students Stage Demonstrations; Few Still Out.” The athletic director at that time had been relieved of his duties and placed in a teaching job. The reason was not reported. Sixty students walked out of class and staged a downtown demonstration, later broken up by officers. The deposed coach tore up petitions that had been handed to him by students and appealed to students to get back to class. But unlike the Detroit Northern demonstration where students have apparently won, the Rochester students all received unexcused absences and were placed on probation for the rest of the year. ... And that was 26 years ago.
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  THEY SAY THAT Herbert Hoover started it when he was president. Hoover decided to turn back to the government the wages he earned as president. Now they’ve got all of us doing it.
   And speaking of public service, whatever happened to the $1-a-year men who served our country in high office during World War II? There’s a tradition we wouldn’t mind seeing revived.