I am dedicating this post to the Graduating Class of 1967, Grand Rapids High School, Grand Rapids MN 55810.
The occassion? The 50th Annual Class Reunion.
I was not able to attend the 50th Class Reunion. It was held at the Sawmill Inn on July 22, 2017. The organizers were Bev Johnson and Catherine McLynn.
A friend and classmate, Bryan Stenlund, presented this to me on Friday 16, 2018. He was in Duluth MN for a conference and took time, after a long day, to drive thru Proctor MN and spend an hour or so reminiscing of days gone by, some good and some not as good, but all make up the fabric of our lives.
He took some photos to post to the Facebook page of the Class of 1967 and asked my to write something about my time in the miltary. I had previously written about my experience in basic training. I framed it as I heard of a Captain John McCain on his release from a North Vietnamese Prisoner of War Camp.
I don’t know the exact count of how many quilts were made, I think I heard 66. I don’t know how many, if any were awarded posthumously.
I do know that some are getting up in age, I am 69 and probably the youngest of the class.
When I wrote the first post above, the Prologue, I had a though floating around in my cobwebs, maybe I would write another article of the times my bride, Becky and I spent the first years of our marriage hosted by Uncle Sam.
As I write this piece for Bryan and the Class of 1967, it was going to be longer than I originally conceived. I chuckled as I thought of Mozart’s words in “Amadeus”, “There are as many notes as there needs to be!”.
The original title included the phrase “A Time to Sweat”. I did not sweat in the jungles of Vietnam like Matt Militich did. No my sweating was in basic training and then more than a year at Ft McClellan AL. That fort was the home of the US Army Chemical Corps and was closed in 1999 due to dioxin contamination or Agent Orange as it was more commonly called.
There may be more of a story there. I believe my medical history includes enough to convince me that my exposure has led to some nasty consequences like heart disease and diabetes among others. A tale for a different day.