Tonawanda News

July 6, 2013

TUCKER: Keep your patriotic spirit going

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The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — Are you still feeling patriotic after witnessing the wonderful fireworks show on the Fourth of July? If so, here’s an email to help carry through the theme of flag-waving.

The email said: “In Saturday’s Tonawanda News your article talked about waving the Flag on July 4th. Take a ride down Thomas Fox Drive East on July 4th and there’s one house in particular that believes in flying the Flag for all his fellow Vietnam Veterans that didn’t make it home.”

What a great tribute to those who, in all wars and conflicts, gave their lives for our freedom and freedom of others around the world.

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Do you have a Zippo lighter? Mine belonged to my husband which he brought home after his four-year stint in the Navy. Still works, but hardly anyone smokes anymore. Anyway, the Zippo subject came to mind when the company sent a press release for its 80th anniversary.

“Zippo,” the press release said, “a brand long known for wearing its patriotism on its sleeve, was today named one of the top ‘Americana’ brands. Maker of the world famous windproof pocket lighter, Zippo has been an American icon since WWII when the company ceased production of lighters for consumer markets and dedicated all manufacturing to the U.S. military.

“Over the years, Zippo has produced countless lighters with the Americana theme and they are always strong sellers. In fact, the single most popular image reproduced on the windproof lighter is the Statue of Liberty.”

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Ron Peters, who calls himself “Your Corn Belt Correspondent,” since he lives in Champaign, Ill., sent the following note:

“Read your column, and I, too, am saddened to hear of the closing of Grace Church. It was a community institution as well as a place of worship. The chowder lunches and wonderful church dinners were renowned throughout the Twin Cities. The dedicated members in the Ladies Aid prepared wonderful meals. One wonders what may have caused its demise. I had hoped to attend a service there on a trip back to WNY, as a fellow former congregant said, ‘I’ll have to drop that from my bucket list.’ Upon hearing the news a number of very fond memories of the church and its people rush to my frontal lobes. One thing sticks out, its history. Grace Church was formed following a separation of a disgruntled group from the Lutheran Church on the northeast corner of Thompson and Bryant streets just after the turn of the 20th century. There was a lot of splintering among Protestant denominations in that period. A number of Grace Church’s founding families had their names on bronze plaques under the tall stained glass windows on the sanctuary’s north and south walls. One as I recall was the Thursam family, an ancestor of your late husband. Descendants of the folks named on those plaques ought to inquire of the new owners their plans for the church’s interior. The plaques, and what they represent, might mean little to someone who is disconnected to Grace Church’s colorful history. It would be a shame if those end up in a scrap yard.”

Ron also noted that women aren’t the only ones trying to find suitable clothing styles.

“It seems I have a choice of looking like a rock band member or a 1920s street car conductor,” Ron said.  “But then being retired, there are few people I have to impress anymore. Oh yes, you mentioned Exchange Club. I’ve been active for a number of years in the Urbana Exchange Club. I was sworn in as president this week. My first executive action will entail finding replacements for a number of committee chairs who informed me they no longer want to serve. Thursday we’ll be be going ahead of the July 4 parade with our “give a kid a flag to wave” project. Briskly walking along the nearly two-mile parade route in the July sun keeps one in shape.”

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Bob Derner stopped me for a moment at my favorite Tim Horton’s to say that not only did he know of Wurlitzer organs being played in pizza parlors, but when he was in Mesa, Ariz., having visited his dad in Tempe, Arz., he went to Organ Stop Pizza where a beautiful white Wurlitzer organ rose from the organ pit every hour on the hour to play for the patrons.

“The wall behind the organ was glass so those people outside could watch the organ rise up from the pit.”

His comments came after a reader challenged whether a Wurlitzer organ was ever played in a pizza parlor.

Thanks, Bob. I love when I’m right!

Contact community editor Barbara Tucker at 693-1000, ext. 4110 or email barbara.tucker@tonawanda-news.com