~~This picture in the May 31, 1983 LeMars Sentinel and its explanation is further proof that the first year for the Plymouth County Avenue of Flags was in May of 1965!

Fred E. Riter received the American Legion citation for meritorious service in organizing the first Plymouth County Avenue of Flags in 1965. He has read the names of deceased veterans whose flags are dedicated each Memorial Day since.

LeMars Daily Sentinel
May 31, 1983

By Glada K.

Cold, north winds whipped 565 American flags Monday on the Plymouth County courthouse lawn.

Sunshine through scudding and broken rain clouds was warm enough for comfort and a good sized Memorial Day crowd gathered at the base of the courthouse steps for the 18th Avenue of Flags with dedication for 19 burial flags of veterans, most of whom had died the last year.

When it was time to retire the flags at 4 p.m., rain finally broke through for a brief downpour. The colorful display which surrounds the courthouse remained to dry out in the strong wind which blew throughout the day.

A new dedication this year was a street pole and flag in front of the American Legion Post Home at 110 Plymouth St. SW.

Wasmer Post officers and color guard and LeMars National Guard Co. A. firing squad lined up on the sidewalk following the courthouse ceremonies to dedicate the pole and flag which was purchased in memory of John G. Lubben, past Wasmer Post sergeant-at-arms and his family.

“Through the efforts of the following individuals, our American Legion Post will fly these colors as a symbol of our freedom,” said Jerry Hoss, Route 3, LeMars, who was master of ceremonies for the brief dedication.

Hoss thanked Larry Rolfes, Robert Lubben, Ken Lubben, Ken Hettwer, Irv Criswell, Bob Plueger, Bud Bierwith, Les Van Burkum, Iowa Public Service Co., Plymouth Ready Mix, the City of LeMars, and all members of Wasmer Post 241.

“This memorial flag will be flown in honor of John G. Lubben until the flag becomes unserviceable and is needed to be disposed,” Hoss said.

An electric lamp three-quarters of the way up the pole which is mounted on a similar base and is as tall as electrolier standards on Plymouth St. will allow the flag to fly 24 hours a day.

Hoss said Legionnaires, veterans and LeMars residents are invited to donate future flags in memory of veterans for the Legion Club flag staff.

Memorial Day speaker Rev. Jack Hebard at the courthouse ceremonies delivered a thought provoking message about interesting times and dangers faced and overcome by succeeding generations in the United States.

The pastor of Christ Lutheran Church, Grant Township, Hebard is a combat veteran of the Korean Conflict and holder of the Silver Star for gallantry in action. He left military service in 1961 to study for the ministry.

He began his talk by recalling a fire fight in Korea 32 years ago to the date.

“We had engaged Chinese units who had caught us in a road block ambush and through our determination we were able to break the block so that supply trains could continue their re-supply mission to units up north,” Hebard said.

In its Presidential Unit Citation, members of the 1st Platoon, L Company, 38th Infantry were cited for “a situation where ordinary men performed an extraordinary action.”

The small unit action helped keep the May county offensive in the eastern Korean mountains from losing its punch in pushing Chinese and North Korean units back north of the 38th parallel.

Hebard said the action had little effect on world affairs, such as military efforts at Bunker Hill, Gettysburg, Ardennes Forest in World War I, and Battle of the Bulge in World War II, but it had eventually helped clear South Korea.

“I suppose none of us at that time realized it but through our action we became a part of the small fraternity of me who had been willing to lay life down for the maintenance of our country’s freedom,” Hebard said.

He mentioned an old Chinese proverb, “May you live in interesting times,” and elaborated that from the beginning this nation has experienced interesting times.

“We are a nation of doers,” Hebard said. “If it needs to be done, we pitch in and do our share, even though we might gripe and complain the whole way.

“But if we are a nation of doers, we are also a nation on the move,” he continued. “Mobility is one of the rewards for our overcoming the challenges and dangers of interesting times.”

Hebard said unlike many nations of the world, people in the United States can travel anywhere, cross state lines without being restricted and can move from one community to another without government approval.

“This is a reality because men and women have responded to the call of their nation to defend freedom that has been passed from generation to generation,” Hebard said.

However, he said those who have laid down their lives cannot be recognized without also recognizing those who remained behind to produce and to maintain the home fires.

“Without this united and mutual effort, where each does his duty, we would never be the nation we are today and hope to be tomorrow.”

Hebard called today’s world situation interesting times and downright dangerous.

“Because we are a nation who takes her responsibility as a world leader seriously, we are often exposed to threatening situations: Iran, Lebanon, Central America, to name a few,” he said.

Hebard then noted decisions by national leaders are not always supported by popular consensus.

“But isn’t this the very nature of democracy—to have an opposition, to be able to voice an opinion that just may be contrary to what others think is good and proper?” he asked.

Hebard said Vietnam was not the first conflict in which opposition divided a nation. He pointed out Americans loyal to England during the Revolutionary War fled to Canada, there were draft riots in New York during the Civil War and many refused to serve because of conscience during both World Wars.

“Each period of our history has seen the rise of opposition,” Hebard said. “It’s what makes democracy tick.”

Hebard turned to the interesting and dangerous relationship between the United States and Russia which he said is at a low ebb with the threat of nuclear war ever present.

“While a nuclear war is a real possibility—too horrible to even think about—neither nation wants to push the button because there wouldn’t be enough left of either side to be worth the risk,” Hebard said.

He added he believes some freak accident could touch off nuclear war, but the bomb is here to stay and the world must get used to living with it.

Hebard said a book called “Mega Trends” by John Naisbitt suggests cooperation between nations can become a reality through economic channels.

“We in LeMars and Northwest Iowa live in an area that is largely dependent on farm products,” Hebard said. “Any interruption of shipment of these products has a ripple-effect on us.”

Hebard said most farmers distrust Russian policies, but farmers know they are dependent on grain sales to Russia.

“There just may be more power and incentive to solve our mutual problems through the economics of trade,” Hebard said.

He asked if explosive politics in El Salvador have the same flavor of Vietnam 20 years ago.

“For most of us these are open ended questions that some how we hope our government in concert with other nations can overcome in some acceptable and responsible way for those who must live in the nightmare of civil war.”

“What we say and do in those areas will affect not only those living there, but our own national image as well,” he said, pointing to a variety of issues such as human rights, national sovereignty, religious expression, social and economic crises.

“This variety of issues, therefore compels us to be creative and innovative in our approach to finding solutions to them,” Hebard said.


~Photo & news item text typed and posted by the Plymouth County Coordinator








~If you have any other 1983 year photos or stories, please share by emailing the county coordinator.