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Celebrating Independence Day in Siouxland, Sioux City

24 Jul

During the July 4 holiday I attended a parade in southern Siouxland and enjoyed festivities and band music there, although that group played music from a couple centuries ago. The evening of July 4 I attended a concert at a local college, Morningside College and listened to the U.S. Air force Heartland of America band perform. Patriotic songs, big band, swing and some pop numbers were all performed with aplomb. This group could swing and belt out some tunes.

It was a fun evening and many local residents took advantage of a pleasant evening without searing heat to come out and hear the band play.

Attendees of the U.S. Air Force Heartland of America Band keep the late afternoon sun off with a “patriotic” umbrellas at a 4th of July celebration concert at Morningside College’ s Buhler Outdoor Performance Center in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, July 04, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A large crowd enjoys the sounds of the U.S. Air Force Heartland of America Band as it plays a concert for the 4th of July celebration at Morningside College’ s Buhler Outdoor Performance Center in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, July 04, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The men and women who serve in the various armed services perform a variety of services. Some of those are just connecting directly with the public and the Heartland of America Band, based at Offutt Air Base in Omaha, NE does a great job. Following are some songs the group performed.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Members of the audience stand for the National Anthem prior to the U.S. Air Force Heartland of America Band concert for the 4th of July celebration at Morningside College’ s Buhler Outdoor Performance Center in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, July 04, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

U.S. Air Force Heartland of America Band guitar player MSgt Jerry Birkenmeier watches SSgt Daniel Thrower as he solos in the spotlight during a concert for the 4th of July celebration at Morningside College’ s Buhler Outdoor Performance Center in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, July 04, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

U.S. Air Force Heartland of America Band brass members TSgt Carl Eitzen, SSgt Daniel Thrower and MSgt Ben Kadow play for a concert for the 4th of July celebration at Morningside College’ s Buhler Outdoor Performance Center in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, July 04, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A nice crowd turned out for the U.S. Air Force Heartland of America Band concert for the 4th of July celebration at Morningside College’ s Buhler Outdoor Performance Center in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, July 04, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Fires works sound off over Morningside College at the conclusion of the U.S. Air Force Heartland of America Band’s concert for the 4th of July celebration at Morningside College’ s Buhler Outdoor Performance Center in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, July 04, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The U.S. Air Force Heartland of America Band play a finale of their concert for the 4th of July celebration at Morningside College’ s Buhler Outdoor Performance Center in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, July 04, 2017. Members of the performing band include TSgt Becky Packard, Tsgt Carl Eitzen, SSgt Daniel Thrower, MSgt Alex Serwatoski, MSgt Ben Kadow, SSgt Ed Zarsky, A1C Sierra Bailey, TSgt Michael Schmaus, MSgt Jerry Birkernmeier and TSgt Marshall Gentry. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

TSgt Becky Packard and A1C Sierra Bailey share a show tune during the U.S. Air Force Heartland of America Band members SSgt Ed Zaryky, YSgt Carl Eitzen, SSgt Daniel Thrower, MSgt Ben Kadow and TSgt Michael Schmaus during the concert for the 4th of July celebration at Morningside College’ s Buhler Outdoor Performance Center in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, July 04, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

An attendee applauds at the end of a song as the U.S. Air Force Heartland of America Band performs a concert for the 4th of July celebration at Morningside College’ s Buhler Outdoor Performance Center in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday, July 04, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

 

Celebrating the 4th of July in Siouxland, Logan

10 Jul

This 4th of July I visited the community of Logan, Iowa.

This year the residents will be celebrating the 150th anniversary or sesquicentennial of their community which was incorporated in July of 1867. For a small town a number of people arrived early for spots along the parade route. I have photographed a number of July 4 parades having worked for various newspapers for over 25 years. I have always been struck by the fact that a number of people feel compelled to “dress up” to celebrate the 4th of July.

I always found it curious. Americans turn out for parades, in small towns or large. We are proud of our heritage and the sacrifices made to achieve the success of the nation we live in.

The Stars and Stripes leads the 4th of July parade during the celebration in Logan, Iowa Tuesday, July 04, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When I attended college in the 1970’s, and the Vietnam War or Police Action was winding down but still emotions were running high concerning America’s involvement and depending on which side of the fence one was seated on, viewpoints differed about what occurred. A particular story I remember hearing is that people were upset with others literally wrapping themselves in the flag, sitting on it, burning it and other acts many felt were seditious. People were serious about respecting the flag and giving it its due honor. Fly it high and proudly. That was it.

Now however, it’s okay for the patriotic consumerism. Olympic athletes wrap themselves in the flag, people sit on it if it happens to be a piece of clothing. It seems it is as patriotic to make a buck from the symbol of the American flag as it is to just run it up a flag pole and enjoy it there.

Young parade goers dressed in patriotic outfits at the 4th of July parade and celebration in Logan, Iowa Tuesday, July 04, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A couple prepare to leave after the 4th of July parade and celebration in Logan, Iowa Tuesday, July 04, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A woman in patriotic dress watches chilldren collect candy during the 4th of July parade and celebration in Logan, Iowa Tuesday, July 04, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It is not for me to judge others about anything. Some may even misconstrue my stated observations here. It just seems that people are more comfortable about wearing their patriotism on their sleeve as it were than just celebrating its significance in a more revered manner. One finds flags large and small displayed in a variety of places which doesn’t necessarily disparage their reverence for our nation’s symbol.

Maybe this is the 21st century way of honoring our nation, but maybe I am old school and not quite so convinced that simply flying the flag high and paying it that respect is enough.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Missing Memorial Day Celebration in Siouxland, Sibley

14 Jun

Recently for the Memorial Day Holiday I wanted to visit another place in Siouxland to see how other folk celebrate the holiday. Granted, the routine is pretty much all the same, but there seems to always to nuances. However this Memorial Day my well laid plans fizzled. The time I believed was set for the ceremony I found for the celebration in Sibley was incorrect. As I pulled into the cemetery I saw people gathered about a few vehicles. And after asking them about the ceremony they looked at me, maybe in pity, and told me I was too late.

Well, the 2.5 hour drive it took for me to get there left me a little deflated but then I drove into town to take a peek and decided I needed to return at some point just to see the downtown area alive with people. For the holiday, no one was downtown this Saturday as all were with friends, family and doing what folk do on a weekend, holiday weekends included.

So Sibley is on my “to so” list and hopefully to do yet this summer.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Celebrating Christmas in Siouxland, Anthon

7 Jan

While driving about I enjoy visiting smaller communities during the holidays. Many places “deck” themselves out to some extent as much or sometimes more than larger communities. Anthon, Iowa is one such place. A community of not quite 600 people, it dresses itself up which makes the season all the merrier.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Starting the New Year off on the right foot in Siouxland, Stone State Park

5 Jan

The Friends of Stone State Park co-hosted a 1st Day Hike Jan. 1 with the local park ranger Kevin Pape who explained that this event was not only happening state-wide, but nationally as well as parks across the country were trying to entire people outside and introducing them to their local state park in their particular area. It was an easy hike that approximately 30-35 people took advantage of with the temperature hovering around single digits to the teens.

Area residents pose for a photograph before setting off on a 1st Day Hike at Stone State Park in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017. A concerted effort by parks nationwide to get people out into nature in their area and introduce them to local parks and what is available. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Area residents pose for a photograph before setting off on a 1st Day Hike at Stone State Park in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017. A concerted effort by parks nationwide to get people out into nature in their area and introduce them to local parks and what is available. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Keepsakes for area residents who came out out for a 1st Day Hike at Stone State Park in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017. A concerted effort by parks nationwide to get people out into nature in their area and introduce them to local parks and what is available. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Keepsakes for area residents who came out out for a 1st Day Hike at Stone State Park in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017. A concerted effort by parks nationwide to get people out into nature in their area and introduce them to local parks and what is available. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Dressed appropriately and moving, the temperature was not much of a concern. Park Ranger Pape also talked about the history of Stone State Park as we traversed a small section of it. Originally land owned by a Daniel Talbot, an early settler of the Sioux City area. Talbot purchased a lot of land but during the late 1890’s with bank failings, eventually lost the land to Thomas Stone, a local banker that personally guaranteed a loan to Talbot and later foreclosed on the land as Talbot was not able to pay. Ranger Pape explains that Stone’s children later donated the land Stone obtained to the City of Sioux City which then created a park area. Later on the city ceded the park to the State of Iowa and Stone State Park was created.

Some of the stone structures in areas of the park were formerly built by the city to house a local zoo. While trying to find more cursory information about the Civilian Conservation Corp that purportedly did work in Stone State Park in the 30’s I could only find reference to other state parks through the state’s Dept. of Natural Resources website.

Besides the historical footnote mentioned above, Stone State Park currently offers a lot of opportunity to get away from urban living even though it is situated on the outskirts of Sioux City. City sounds drift away, except for occasional traffic driving through.

Having hiked through several parts of the park over the years, it is a place to forget about current events and enjoy the moment and whatever nature provides that day. On a good day with good weather, one can see a variety of birds, deer and other creatures. Once while out with some Loess Hills Audubon people doing a December bird count I even saw a coyote on a hillside early that morning.

It’s good to unplug and tune into nature, maybe next year there will be enough people for two sets of hikes on a first day.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

Celebrating Christmas in Siouxland, Le Mars

22 Dec

A number of communities in the Siouxland area are celebrating the Christmas season and Le Mars, Iowa is again hosting a Lighted Parade as well as a Christmas Village where parade attendees and others can go for hot drinks and cookie treats, listen to live music, ride in light decorated wagons and spend a nice evening.

This year’s celebration was warmer than other years but it was also drizzling a bit which put some chill in the air. But people turned out for the parade downtown and the wet pavement made for some nice photos and added to ambiance. When shooting various events at night, I am all for whatever ambient light is available and the wet pavement was an added bonus, even if the air temp was colder.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

Winter’s Embrace in Siouxland, Storm Lake

22 Dec

I drove over to Storm Lake, Iowa a week or so ago to check out a holiday place that I have been meaning to visit but never during the appropriate season, Christmas. It had been snowing most of the morning in Siouxland and I made the trip in the afternoon as the roads were not so accommodating earlier in the day. After my visit to the holiday place which I will soon share, I stopped by the lake in Storm Lake and briefly walked around. I did not spend much time there as I previously have because of a stiff wind and wanting to get on the road before the sun dipped on the horizon. Living in the Midwest, I always respect the possibility of black ice on roadways, since the temperature was hovering around 25 degrees. Welcome winter, with more below zero temps predicted to come, and along with that, snow.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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