I cringe a little when I sometimes hear or read comments about Veterans Day existing for those who have been killed in the service of our nation. Those heroes should always be remembered, but that’s the focus of Memorial Day. Veterans Day honors all of our veterans. It is a United States legal holiday dedicated to American veterans of all wars and it is observed each year on Nov. 11.
As the History Channel tells us “In 1918, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, was declared between the Allied nations and Germany in World War I, then known as ‘the Great War’.
“Commemorated in many countries as Armistice Day the following year, November 11th became a federal holiday in the United States in 1938. In the aftermath of World War II and the Korean War, Armistice Day became known as Veterans Day.”
This week’s “Scrapbook” feature, in the print and online editions of the Decatur Tribune, is about all the members of the U. S. Armed Forces that have come from Illinois in America’s conflicts. The photos accompanying the text by Tom Emery are from the 2007 Veterans Day Service on Nov. 11 in front of the Barnes Citizens Building in downtown Decatur. Charles Barnes, who owned the building at the time, was very patriotic and most of you probably remember the huge American flag that was unfurled on the west side of the 12-story building on special days like Veterans Day.
I spoke (as mayor) at the 2007 service, one of several held at that location over the years and it was a special honor for me to address that gathering which included a lot of patriotic people in our community. Over the years, many Decatur and Macon County men and women have stepped forward to serve in the military and protect this nation.
• LAST week, in this column, I mentioned Orv Graham, one of community’s very familiar radio voices from the past and a longtime friend, who passed away on May 12 of last year. Orv’s daughter, Sabrina, called me this week, to let me know that the public is invited to remember Orv on Saturday, Nov. 13, from 3:00 until 5:00 p.m. at The Wagon, 3190 North Woodford in Decatur. Sabrina told me the banquet room will be used and those attending should use the back door to enter. It will also be a casual event.
The event is being held 18 months after Orv’s passing because the COVID-19 Pandemic prevented holding such a service for the public before now. “I can’t believe 18 months have passed,” Sabrina told me. “I miss him so much.”
• THE new home of Neuhoff Media’s (WSOY) studios is very impressive. As I mentioned last week, the move from the first floor of the Citizens Office Building at William and Water streets to the sixth floor of the Millikin Court Building at 132 South Water Street, has been completed. Brian Byers is now broadcasting Byers & Co. just two floors above the Tribune offices on the west side of the building.
Out of curiosity, last Thursday morning, when I left my office to go to the studio two floors above me, for the “City Hall Insider” with Brian, I timed how long it took for me to get from the Tribune door to the studio door. It wasn’t much over a minute! How’s that for “commute time”? I doubt that Star Trek’s “Scotty” could have beamed me up any faster!
• TRUE BLUE — I needed some subscription gift certificates printed in a hurry and we didn’t have time to do the job ourselves so I sent an email to Decatur Blue at 230 West Wood, showing what I needed. Within a few minutes I received an email with the cost of printing them. I responded with the pdf of the certificate hoping that I would get them printed in a week or ten days to use for the holiday rush. Would you believe that, the next morning I received an email indicating the job was finished and could be picked up? That was amazingly fast considering how about everything else has slowed down during the pandemic. I was doubly-pleased because the company is located downtown.
Based on my experience, I would recommend Decatur Blue. Their phone number is 217-423-7589, or do like I did and send them an email explaining what you need at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I remember when I started in business in the early 1960s, Decatur Blueprint had started a few years earlier and was located in a building on East Main Street and State Street, behind what was then the Standard Office Building (now Millikin Court Building).
• WHEN I came to the newspaper office early one morning last week, countless Christmas lights decorated the light poles on the downtown streets and Central Park. It was a beautiful reception because it was still dark when I arrived and the lights sure brightened my day before the sun came up. Thank you to IBEW 146 and their apprentices for “enlightening” the downtown area and getting everyone in the Christmas spirit — and it happened in less than a week after the Central Park fountain was turned off for the winter!
One of the most beautiful photos I’ve ever shot was several years ago when I arrived downtown after a freshly-fallen snow and there were no car tracks yet on South Water Street. When I parked my car, I got my camera and shot a photo of the snow, the Christmas lights and the buildings on North Water Street in a very serene scene. I often think of all of the magnificent scenes that we see in our community during the course of a year — and how they are all free to all of us to enjoy. Too bad so many people spend so much time looking down on our community to enjoy the beauty that can only be enjoyed by “looking up”!
• STEVE Huss shot a beautiful aerial photo of Lake Decatur, the dam, the Sangamon River and other sights on the south side of our community that I’ve printed at the top of page 14 in this week’s Decatur Tribune. It’s another one of the beautiful views of our city — and the Korean War Veterans Bridge, which is also in the photo, is one that I travel over every day when going to and from the office. Steve’s photo reminded me of the beauty of that part of Decatur that I drive through (and become a part of) every day.
• CITY Councilman Bill Faber has some interesting figures about Decatur’s population shrinkage over the years that should concern us — along with the reduction in jobs. Bill’s column can be found on page 7 of the print edition.
• ALTHOUGH this week’s print edition is being mailed the day before Veterans Day, the USPS will not be delivering mail on the holiday so most of our mail subscribers will be receiving this week’s edition a day later than usual. Too bad I didn’t mention this delay in last week’s edition.
• MAY GOD Bless our veterans and their families for their service to our nation — not only on Nov. 11th but every day. Families of veterans also make a lot of sacrifices in supporting our heroes in defending our freedom.
• I AM increasingly concerned by the number of empty buildings I see when I’m driving in various areas of our community. Unless we are following our business climate very closely I think most people would be shocked at how many businesses that were operating before the pandemic began are no longer in business. COVID-19 has not only taken many human lives, but the lives of many businesses in Macon County and across the nation and for most of those that remain, it has been “survival mode” until full operation can start again. I’m told by some business owners and managers that hiring employees is a big problem and some say that they are starting to be limited on how many items they can order to keep their businesses running. That’s not good for anyone.
• I’M THANKFUL that we have some new businesses that are starting up in our community — and area — and I have more about those businesses in this week’s Tribune.
• THERE’S BEEN a lot of references to articles, comments and information that appear in this week’s print and online editions of the Decatur Tribune. If you are not presently a subscriber to the Tribune, you can survive via your credit card on this site. You can subscribe to this locally-owned, independent newspaper for $40.00 for 52 issues. (Such a deal!). If you don’t want to use PayPal to subscribe you can send your check, along with your mailing address to: Decatur Tribune, P. O. Box 1490, Decatur, IL 62525-1490.
• I JOIN Brian Byers on WSOY’s Byers & Co. every Thursday morning at 7:00. I always enjoy our discussions about the issues impacting our city.