I once shook hands with Elizabeth Dole, a presidential candidate in the late 1990s, and interviewed another one, Fred Thompson, during a campaign stop in Montezuma in December 2007.
I’ve interviewed various state senators, representatives and gubernatorial candidates through the years.
I’ve covered tons of high school sporting events, attended numerous homecomings, proms, graduations, Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day services and community parades and celebrations through the years.
I was run over by two different football players in the first half of a football game between Montezuma at Wapello in the fall of 2000. I broke my camera in the process.
I’ve covered state football and basketball. I was courtside when Montezuma won the 2021 Class 1A State Championship at the Wells Fargo Arena.
I once climbed a grain bin to get a better photo of farmers combining. I drove in an ice storm to take photos of an overturned semi filled with hogs that were roaming about the highway. I made it home alive and the photo won a state award.
I’ve written hundreds of feature stories, my favorite, about every day Iowans doing what they love. And I can’t forget about my column, “On the Road Again,” and the many folks who have told me how much they enjoy reading them.
On Saturday, June 11, I was in Brooklyn where I witnessed the dedication and unveiling of the Harold “Pie” Keller monument at the town’s Avenue of Flags.
It was a day that I will never forget and one of the many highlights of my journalistic career.
“Pie,” as he was known, was one of six Marines who carried the American Flag to the summit of Mount Suribachi on Feb. 23, 1945 during the World War II Battle of Iwo Jima. The iconic moment was captured by AP photographer Joe Rosenthal.
Hundreds of people from all walks of life came together to support and honor “Pie,” a humble, yet great man who at the time was just doing his duty to the country he loved.
“Pie” was born, raised and went to school in Brooklyn and was the father of three. He loved Brooklyn where he worked in the dairy business, served as the town fire chief and coached little league baseball after the war.
To see and photograph his two living children unveiling the monument and shedding tears of joy in remembrance of their dad was touching. The military and members of American Legions from all across Poweshiek County and the state of Iowa were there showing their support for one of their own.
The parade, which took nearly an hour, was filled with a military presence and people lined Jackson Street to witness a moment in time that will live forever.
The prayers, the singing, the National Anthem and Pledge of Allegiance were all part of the festivities.
As one of the speakers said, “This is the America we once knew.”
Well done, Brooklyn!
Thanks for allowing me to be there and take photos and tell the story of Harold “Pie” Keller.
The America we once knew
Sometimes I wonder what has happened to the America many of us remember?
A time when things seemed simpler.
It’s not like that today.
Taxpayer money is being sent all over the world and wasted on witch hunts. Political parties are pointing fingers and blaming each other. There is major chaos and rioting in our cities. High gas and grocery prices and supply shortages are causing families to struggle and are weighing heavy on many businesses and communities. There is so much going on in this country causing division. I’ll not list them as most know the hot topic buttons.
Sometimes I stop and shake my head and ask myself, “what the heck is going on?”
I remember growing up when America was different.
My mom was a Republican and my dad was a Democrat and a union man. They learned to get along. They voted and that was it. They didn’t talk about it and they didn’t go around our neighborhood telling everyone who they voted for.
They did their duty and they worked hard and did what was best for their family. I miss that.
I hope we can get back to a simpler time where neighbors are neighbors no matter the color of their skin, the church they attend or who they voted for.
Have a great week and always remember that “Good Things are Happening,” every day and always.