Dan Lidster’s vision

Posted on June 26, 2010


A few weeks ago Dan Lidster, who lives in Eastport and serves on the EMS ambulance crew, stood up at a Township meeting and got something off his chest. He’d been over to Lakeview Cemetery, and he thought the Veterans Memorial there was a disgrace.  It was so small no one knew it was there.  The grass wasn’t trimmed.  The flag was faded.  Township residents should do better than that.  We needed a new monument.  The Board heard him out, and told him to get a committee together and come back with a plan. They got some work done over at the cemetery, too, because by the time I went to look at the memorial it had been tidied up considerably.

Dan gave his plan some thought. The memorial ought to be where people could see it as they pass by on East Torch Lake Drive. It should be dignified and well maintained. It should be paid for by donations from the public rather than tax dollars. It should, he thought, honor all branches of the armed forces and the civilian emergency services as well (EMTs, firefighters and law enforcement personnel).  Most important of all, it shouldn’t omit those who are still missing in action, or prisoners of war. 

There should be a place to sit and think.  It should be accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities.  And wouldn’t it be nice, he thought, if it could be built from fieldstone that people contributed from their own land?  Make a stone base for a sculpture–an eagle maybe. 

He got a committee together: John Bennett, Harold Kruse, Loraine Mottern, Stan Dawson.  They held a Public Input Session over at the Township Hall the other night.  Jim Ribby recited some of the poetry that came out of the Civil War, and quoted the ancient instruction to build monuments so that the children will see them, and ask their parents to tell them the stories

Dan’s son John showed a video he’d made of monuments from other communities.  Mike Borkovich came over from Leelanau County to talk about the building of the Michigan Vietnam Memorial. 

The committee scheduled another meeting for July 1 at the Township Hall.  They’d like to know what you think of the idea of the new monument.  What you think it should look like.  What you think it should say.  Dan hopes people will be willing to help raise funds to build it. You can see a photo of the eagle sculpture he likes at the Large Art Company website.  You can walk out on your land and look for a good stone.

A lot of people in this Township have buried loved ones in Lakeview Cemetery.  We have ancestors who fought in the Civil War, or Dads who served in World War II, or Moms who were combat nurses in Vietnam . . . 

James S. Arnold, Co. D, 8th Michigan Infantry, Civil War. William J. Cobb, Spanish American War. Edward C. Ackerman, U.S. Army, World War I. Charles A. Sweet, Army Air Corps, World War II. (He and Jessie were married a week after Pearl Harbor.) Victor Cole, Coast Guard, Korea. John E. Kimball, Air Force, Vietnam . . .

Elmer R. Johnson, U.S. Army, World War II, Bronze Star.

There are a lot more of them up there, flags fluttering over their graves. I wonder what they’d like. Mostly I think they’d like to know that grandchildren and great-grandchildren remembered them, or had heard great stories about them. They’d like to go down to the lake and sink a hook or take a swim. I don’t know. Maybe that’s just what I’d like. What about you? How would you like to be remembered?