Back in November (The fog of war) I told you the story of Sonny Szejbach’s medal, and its long journey to reach him. Well, today’s the day.
The entire Township will tilt south as people make their way down to Elk Rapids for the big doings. The ceremony starts at 4:00 at the Amvets Post 114 hall. There will be speeches. There will be public officials. There will be representatives of public officials reading proclamations. There will be two retired Generals and quantities of veterans from Around Here and beyond. There will be many, many friends and neighbors. Finally, 43 years after he earned it, Clarence L. Szejbach will have his Distinguished Service Cross pinned to his chest.
He has been practicing saluting with his new prosthesis. It has been a long time since he has been in the habit of saluting.
Earlier this week a big tent went up in the parking lot. It’s full of long tables and chairs and a lectern for the speakers. But never fear. This is Antrim County. There can be no festivities without excellent treats.
After the speeches you can eat a good dinner. It will be a free-will offering fundraiser to support a an emergency shelter over in Gaylord for veterans whose lives have not worked out quite so well as Sonny’s. The free-will part means that you can come even if you don’t have any money, and it means you can, and should, give generously if you have a mind to.
I happen to know that the menu features brats, those excellent sausages beloved everywhere in Michigan. They will not be just any brats, but Sonny’s brats. He was making the last batch when I stopped by the Torch Lake Market for my lunch. Wait, wait, I said. You are making the dinner for your Big Day? Um, yes. Sonny is donating the brats to the fundraising dinner—500 of them, so you’d better come with a good appetite.
Now, see, these are interesting times. On the one hand I am invited to receptions to meet political candidates where I can have the privilege of donating to their campaigns. On the other I am invited to the celebration of Sonny’s medal where the honoree himself is providing the excellent treats in order to raise funds to help other veterans. Lessee, which one shall I do . . .
So. See you at the Amvets Post in Elk Rapids at 4 pm then.