Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

July 8, 2013

10th annual Celebrate America festival honors Korean War veterans

GOSHEN — The strains of “Stars and Stripes Forever” rang out over Black Squirrel Golf Course.

The music Sunday night was courtesy of the Baltimore, Md.-based Exalt Brass ensemble, performing on stage in front of a banner bearing the words, “America...Home of the Free, Because of the Brave.”

On the Black Squirrel grounds, some children played catch or held fast to helium-filled balloons. Adults staked out small patches of earth with their chairs, perhaps looking forward to the fireworks show later that evening.

Sunday marked the 10th annual show organized by the local Celebrate America non-profit group. Spectators gathered on or around Black Squirrel could expect to see — and hear — around $20,000 worth of fireworks blown up in the span of a half-hour.

Before the pyrotechnics, though, there was a time to pay respect.

In keeping with tradition, veterans were honored during the Celebrate America event. This year, local Korean War-era veterans were given special recognition. The audience honored them with a standing ovation as the veterans gathered on stage.

Gary Whitehead was among those who ventured to Black Squirrel Sunday to show his support. Whitehead was in the U.S. Navy from 1966 to 1986, and is a former veterans’ service officer. Count him as enthusiastic about Celebrate America’s efforts.

“I think this is one of the greatest things for northern Indiana, to support our country,” Whitehead said. He pointed out that Al Lane started the event 10 years ago.

“Where it’s gone...is just amazing,” Whitehead said. “It’s just a great day.”

Also attending Sunday’s pre-fireworks concert and ceremony was Delores Dye of Dunlap. Dye said she’s been to every Celebrate America showcase; last year’s was canceled due to hot and dry conditions.

“It’s a nice, family-oriented event,” she said.

A recurring theme before the fireworks was that Celebrate America is about much more than fireworks. Celebrate America president Greg Lanzen outlined the group’s educational outreach — and referenced the message on the stage banner.

“We don’t want our children here in Goshen to ever forget that,” he said. “We want to make sure they learn it. They’re being taught it in schools, but we’re trying to reinforce it.”

Lanzen, a pastor, also offered a prayer Sunday.

“Father, we seek to honor our veterans,” he said. “They have served their country faithfully, and they have served you faithfully.” He also prayed for protection for service personnel in harm’s way today.

Among the veterans in attendance Sunday was Mike Tolor of Goshen. A Vietnam veteran who served in 1970-71, Tolor wore a shirt bearing a flag and the word “America.” The Celebrate America event? He’s a fan.

“It’s a good way to celebrate what it’s all about,” he said.

1
Text Only
Local News
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Poll

Goshen City Council member Dixie Robinson is asking residents to make an effort to clean up their yards this spring. The city’s Dial-A-Truck program is available to haul trash away. Do you think there are more unsightly properties in Goshen this year than five years ago?

Yes. I have noticed more problem properties
No. I have not noticed more problems
I think the problems are about the same as always
     View Results
AP Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case