Special to the Citizen
Citizens gathered with food, nationalistic singing and other activities to celebrate the historic triumphs of local veterans.
Thanks to the help of local organizers, Dearborn locals got to meet and greet five gentlemen that served in the Navy, National Guard and Air Force.
Soon after starting with an honor guard presentation and prayer, it was announced that Dearborn is now recognized as a Purple Heart City. From there, the Air National Guard’s Colonel Byron B. Newell, from the 139th Airlift Wing at Rosecrans in St. Joseph shared stories of the veterans in attendance before the parade capped off the day’s activities. Newell originally entered the U.S. Navy after graduating from North Platte in 1990.
Breanna Cheadle, treasurer for the Dearborn Community Betterment Association, was a driving force in Saturday’s event.
”[These veterans] that were here, that is so rare,” Cheadle said. “We got so lucky by having five here in person and it amazing to get to see them. Between the history [we listened to today], the living history sitting right there, you know, has just made this amazing.”
The five individuals were Chester E. (Gene) Long, Earl Parker Seymour, Harold “Chuck” Searcy, Don Forgue and Ralph LeRoy Masoner. Not only did their presence offer a history lesson for those in attendance, the attendance of the veterans single-handedly lifted everyone’s spirits.
Some brought food for friends and neighbors to enjoy while others helped with setting up tables and chairs.
Though a patriotic atmosphere blanketed the surrounding area, a nearby town managed to hear of the festivities, too.
“Now the city of Edgerton is going to be doing the same thing,” Cheadle said. “They caught wind of what we were doing, were interested and now their event is going to be in September.”
Next year, Cheadle hopes that Dearborn will also be recognized as a POW/MIA (Prisoner of War, Missing In Action) city.
As the Battle Hymn of the Republic pursued through the rest of the celebration, Dearborn inhabitants left back to their homes. Though the day had seen its end, the history garnered marched on.