Remembering those who serve our country

June 01, 2012 12:53 pm

Much has already been said and written about the Memorial Day services, but I must at least make mention of the 25th annual Avenue of Flags and the granted Fly-Over.

They came as they promised.  They came and they went in a matter of moments as we sat or stood at Grandview Cemetery, having completed the touching program arranged for us by the various veteran organizations and concerned citizens.

The aircraft from the 173rd Fighter Wing of Oregon Air National Guard base at Klamath Falls responded to the Daughters of the American Revolution Lone Pine Tree Chapter of Baker City/
La Grande and the American Legion Family Post 43 of La Grande, and flew their F-15 Eagle fighter jet over our city at exactly noon on Memorial Day as promised. The outline of the aircraft was silhouetted against the darkening sky that threatened rain but managed only a few drops. We had hoped for sunshine, but how fortunate we were that it faded away or we would have been blinded against the view afforded us.

Some say it was hardly worth the effort since the flight lasted such a short time and the aircraft so high in the sky, but they were the ones untouched by the true meaning of the fly-over, the protection still granted us in guarding our freedoms and recognition of the heroic services of our veterans. Yes, it was over in a moment of our time but lasting in our hearts. As a member of the DAR requesting the flyover, I am deeply grateful for all of those who made it possible.

My husband, for whom one of the flags at the cemetery flies each year, representing 224 names, was a navigator in the Air Force during WWII, and I could imagine his plotting the route from Klamath Falls over Union and Baker counties. In my mind, he flew with Monday’s crew and I wished them Godspeed.

A retired Army stranger from out of state, related to earlier Lyell and Broomfield folk, if I remember the names correctly, took time to speak to me. I could see in his eyes his pride in having served to protect our country, and still he took time to compliment Dory’s Diary, reading my column from another state. I felt humbled.

Tears tried to surface during Pastor Roger Cochran’ s meaningful talk and to learn that a Knopp son was on an aircraft carrier at the moment his father Lowell spoke to us.

How could we not feel emotion at the first raising of our flag and Josh Jenkins’ playing of Taps to bring the remembrance of those who serve in our nation’s military program to a close. I was grateful to the Boy Scouts who furnished chairs so that folks such as I could sit.

If you missed the event, I’m sorry.


Dear Diary,

It has come to my attention that folks have been calling The Observer and asking whether or not my diary is still going to be available to them as the newspaper goes through numerous changes. Because of their interest, I rather believe I should respond in some way even though I’ m not sure myself what I want to do about it.

One fact remains that I haven’t been invited to stay but neither have I decided that I must again hide my diary in another place where folks can’t find it. That part remains for the future. Maybe it should be what the people want.

Another fact is that I must have my say in that I am totally set against this three-day-a-week change. I, too, want my newspaper five or even six or seven days a week. I want to pick it up, hold it in my hands and read what it has to say in my own time, but I don’t want to do it only three days a week.

I have no choice in the changes even as I try to look into the matter to see whether there is necessity or wisdom at work here.

The local Observer was in the black, but it is part of a whole and so, as far as I can tell, the whole eats into our portion and we must share because of it. We can blame it on anything we like — the economy, poor management, the electronic age, or anything else we can think of — but the facts remain the same. Management has made its decision and our local paper must follow the directive.

Who knows. Maybe you will really like the new set-up, with or without my column and only the given days of the week. We must wait and see.

I wrote a recent column about sometimes less being more as more becomes less. I’m not sure just how we can relate this to a newspaper, but maybe it is there someplace.

While we readers think of the newspaper as Our News, Our Crossword Puzzle, our Comics, the sales folks see it as Our Advertisements, Our Sales, Our Income. The newspaper itself may think of it as Our Livelihood, Our Home Away From Home, Our Social Realm, Our Community Service. Even the Carriers can think of it as their First Income, their First Responsibility, their First Business experience.

We are all correct.

In the early days, starting out as a carrier and progressing to a writer, my view of the newspaper was limited as I drew red outlines around my first stories, especially those with my name on them. It was a proud time.

The rest of the newspaper existed only to see that my articles and pictures were put to print and distributed. Maybe age and experience has something to do with it, but I now see it all as a Community of Sharing. Without one of the elements going into producing the daily paper, the newspaper wouldn’t exist at all. We must work and produce

If the Advertisers decided not to use the newspaper to let the folks know what they had to sell, the newspaper couldn’t afford to print the news, for  the subscribers couldn’t pay all the bills. Likewise, if the subscribers all quit buying the newspaper, the businesses would have no place to draw in an unlimited number of customers to purchase their
wares. They need each other.

Take even the folks who put the pieces of the paper together page by page and the persons who run the big press in the back of the building, or the carriers who bring the paper to your door. Without each part of this big business, a newspaper wouldn’t be a newspaper at all.

I’m sure every business and every household, not just the newspaper business, faces the same dilemma of how to make the budget work. What hurts here is that we had no say in the changes that are being made at The Observer. We didn’t have a vote. See what I have meant in other columns about preserving our freedoms.

Of course, we aren’t a truly local newspaper or a co-op paper, either. We belong to a conglomerate out of town, and we must abide by their decisions and then decide how we individually respond to them.

Thank you for asking by phone, email and personal response concerning whether or not Dory’s Diary will continue appearing in The Observer on a weekly basis. It remains to be seen where it goes from here.


Veteran newspaperwoman Dorothy Swart Fleshman is a La Grande native. Reach her at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it