Thank you from a world and a lifetime away

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On Saturday morning a rather unique and certainly touching ceremony took place at the American Legion Post in Post Falls. The combined effort of the Republic of Korea and the Idaho Division of Veterans Services brought a standing-room-only crowd for the presentation of Ambassador for Peace medals.

These ceremonies were taking place throughout the state to commemorate National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day. The Korean War began on June 25, 1950, and ended July 27, 1953. The majority of veterans of that war are now in their late 80s and 90s.

Nearly three dozen living veterans from North Idaho representing the Army, Marines, Navy and Air Force were present, with family of another two dozen there to accept the medals posthumously.

Jim Connell, 90, served in the Air Force in Korea and was eloquent in his awe and gratitude for the sentiments of the Korean people nearly seven decades later.

My late father was just a 21-year-old Marine when he fought in Korea’s Battle of the Chosin Reservoir. The experience changed him. I recall him sharing only late in life some of the stories ... thousands of Korean civilians walking out with our troops during the brutal cold sub-zero weather. They voted for freedom with their feet, he told me. He never forgot a Korean woman who gave birth along the trail, the Marines gathering some of their own tattered blankets to wrap the infant against the cold. I think he always wondered about that baby, hoping it survived to live in freedom.

For those veterans present on Saturday morning who served in combat without an expectation of gratitude, it was moving to see how much it meant a lifetime later.

Accompanying the beautiful medal each received was this message:

“It is a great honor and pleasure to express the everlasting gratitude of the Republic of Korea and our people for the service you and your countrymen have performed in restoring and preserving our freedom and democracy.

“We cherish in our hearts the memory of your boundless sacrifices in helping us re-establish our free nation.

“In grateful recognition of your dedicated contributions, it is our privilege to proclaim you an Ambassador for Peace with every good wish of the people of the Republic of Korea. Let us each reaffirm our mutual respect and friendship that they may endure for generations to come.”

• • •

This time of year if I’m in downtown Coeur d’Alene and there’s an open parking space in front of Hudson’s Hamburgers and no line out the door I take it as a sign from the universe that a single cheese both is simply meant to be. On Monday the planets aligned! Sitting at that counter enjoying a burger that’s been made the same way by generations of Hudsons is so much more than lunch. It’s a trip in a time machine to my youth and growing up on Ninth and Sherman in the ’60s. Tip for the uninitiated ... don’t order fries.

• • •

Bert enjoyed his first kayak ride since being cleared by his surgeon. I borrowed my sister’s inflatable kayak to check it out before I invest in my own. Bert’s been kayaking three or four years but I’m a rookie. I didn’t hate it but I have blisters on my thumbs and made a spectacular dismount upon our return to the beach that I hope doesn’t show up on YouTube titled “Old Woman Goes Arse Over Tea Kettle into Hauser Lake.”

• • •

At noon on Friday, the Patriotic Piecers with the Quilts of Valor program will make a special father/daughter presentation at North Star Retirement Community. World War II veteran George France, 94, served in the Navy from 1943 to 1947, completing basic training at Farragut Training Center in 1943. He achieved the rank of MM2. His daughter, Mary Marr, is also a Navy veteran. The public is welcome to attend the presentation.

• • •

Things to Do Highlights:

On Thursday is the annual Post Falls Community Picnic at Q’emiln Park in the Lions Grand Pavilion. Come have a barbecue dinner ($8 includes dessert, soft drink or water), starting at 5 p.m., with the Post Falls Community Volunteers and live music by Kelly Hughes and his band starting at 6 p.m..

The eighth annual Scott Wemple Memorial Golf Tournament to benefit CASA is Friday at Avondale with a 1 p.m. shotgun start. Info: kristin@northidahocasa.org or 208-660-6707.

Athol Farmers Market and 4-H Friday at Athol city park is from 2-6 p.m.

Friday through Sunday, Christian Youth Theater (CYT North Idaho) presents “Singing in the Rain” with evening and matinee performances at Post Falls High School. Info: 208-930-1001, www.cytnorthidaho.org.

Art on the Green, Taste of the Coeur d’Alenes and the Downtown Street Fair come to Coeur d’Alene Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Ride for ALICE, an event to help low income families in North Idaho with child care, is 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. Motorcyclists, contact www.unitedway ofnorthidaho.org or 208-667-8112 for details.

On Sunday the Post Falls Sprint Triathlon/Duathlon is 8 a.m. to noon at Q’emiln Park. Call Post Falls Park and Rec at 208-773-0539 for info and registration.

• • •

Happy birthday today to Patricia Richardson, Bill Hamilton, Adam Durflinger, Mary Beth Broderick and Tab Bray. On the first day of August, Rich Houser, Tatiana Harrison, Bev Moss, David Noordam, Duane Oliver, Patricia Kaufman, Dennis Harlan and Dodge Gonzales will be celebrating.

On Friday Austin Viles, Mandy Averill and Matt Odd are marking their birthdates. Saturday wish Ronda Smithson, Jessica Hendricks and Steve Cox a happy birthday. On Sunday Amy Evans, Vic Eachon (the pickle man), Jennifer Custer, Ben Fairfield, Jack Glinski, Ruthie Johnson, Sara McDrummand, Toni Caywood, Joel Bertsch, Michele Wood, Erin Delaney, Austin Viles and Amy Ford will have their cake and eat it, too.

Monday, Aug. 5, birthdays will be celebrated by Doris Weaver, Dave Holinka, Kristin Kilmer, Jonathan Thomas Burnett and Danna Ziegler. On Tuesday Tracey Fouché, George Evjen, Brenda Knight, Rick Marshall, James Fulton, Shirleen Jacobs, Christine Maiani, Kelli Aiken, Tom Wood, and best buddies Lyle Ekness and Don Larsen will toast to another year.

• • •

Kerri Rankin Thoreson is a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and the former publisher of the Post Falls Tribune. Main Street appears every Wednesday in The Press and Kerri can be contacted on Facebook or via email mainstreet@cdapress.com. Follow her on Twitter @kerrithoreson.

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