Opinion, Through the Eyes of the Colonel

City missed opportunity to provide positive public relations

Patriotism is a word that most of us hear and use on a regular basis. Most people, like me, truly believe that it means loyalty and devotion to our country, admiration of those who serve and dedication to the ideals of our free democratic style of government.
This is not the complete expression of patriotism.
Thanks to Al January, a true patriot, we had a 50th anniversary memorial service for Duane Hodges and the crew of the United States Navy vessel Pueblo on Jan. 23, 2018. Fifty years ago the North Korean Navy in an unprovoked attack on Jan. 23, 1968 captured the Pueblo. Several U.S. Navy personnel were injured and the only death from this attack was Seaman Hodges.
Hodges was a patriotic Creswell native who had volunteered into the Navy service. It is not only right but it is a true sign of patriotism that Creswell should honor Hodges on this 50th anniversary of his capture and death. Hodges is a hero in the true sense of the word and should be remembered by Creswell citizens.
The program for Hodges was held in the Creswell Library where it was very crowded. It was a venue where probably less than 50 persons could attend. In my opinion the event should have been sponsored by the city and held in one of the three city properties where there would have been plenty of room. Furthermore, and this is important… as the city government is our employee they should be the agency to sponsor citywide activities.
It is not right that veterans and veteran organizations shoulder the responsibility to honor veterans. Those activities should be produced by the citizens or organizations to conduct the ceremony. Presently, events put on by veterans’ groups is like patting themselves on the back for having served. Sure, we as veterans should be involved. But why not have our government and citizens show pride and devotion by demonstrating loyalty at events for, not by, veterans?
The city should be offering help to any group, not just the veterans, when events are planned and recognized for national, state or city dates. City property, especially Creswell City Hall’s McCluskey Chambers, Creswell Community Center and Cobalt Building would have offered more seating and should have been offered for the Pueblo service. These buildings belong to us, the citizens of the city, and the city should have volunteered to serve our need instead of the city’s ridiculous requirement of 45-day advance request to utilize these facilities or to block a street for the Veterans’ Day celebration.
Thanks to Creswell Library Directory Su Liudahl for freely volunteering the use of the library for the Pueblo memorial service.
By the way, there was only one member of the city council present at the memorial service; the other members were conspicuous by their absence. An opportunity to adhere to the city’s adopted slogan or motto of ”The Friendly City” would show the world our pride, devotion and patriotism.