Sunday, November 13, 2011


American Legion Post 402 Commander, Bill Nauta, led the program that
featured speaker Tim Raymond, Island Schools Administrator,
and island elementary children.

Washington Island, Wisconsin -

Veterans Day, previously known as Armistice Day, was observed by community members at the Trueblood Performing Arts Center this past Friday morning.

This day of national observance has also had island traditions that, with the exception of a different speaker each year, few changes from one year to the next.  The program format over time came to include a certain predictability, beginning with the clanking of metal folding chairs as they were set up by Legion members in the Community Center, and the same annual list of audience sing-along numbers that included dusty relics from the WWI.  (Who among us identify with WWI era songs that have lyrics such as:  "Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag and smile, smile, smile; while you've a lucifer to light your fag, smile boys, that's the style; What's the use of worrying? It never was worthwhile, So pack up your troubles etc. etc."?)  It was time for change!

The 2011 program shifted to the newly remodeled TPAC, a comfortable setting that permitted easy audience access and easy presentation of program elements from the stage.  This shift from the traditional program at the Community Center could be said to have actually started with completion of a walkway installation one week earlier.  A crew poured a new concrete sidewalk between school and the auditorium, removing the old chain link fence at the same time along the school's southern boundary. This installation is a welcoming feature both from a practical and symbolic viewpoint, as it opens up the north-to-south contiguous properties of Community Center, Rec Center, School and TPAC, now one "campus."

This year's program injected fresh elements.  Speaker was School Administrator Tim Raymond, new to Washington Island in August.  Elementary school children followed, whose voices led the audience in "My County 'Tis of Thee."  The large, rear-projection screen behind the speaker and the school children ran a slide show of military images, old and new.

Comments afterwards indicated that the setting and the active participation by schoolchildren were well received.  The program was short and to the point, starting at 10:30, ending by 11:15.

  - Dick Purinton

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