Letter to the Editor

Remembering SSG Blass

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

On March 26, a local fallen Soldier, SSG Steven Blass from Estherville, was honored after giving the ultimate sacrifice for our rights and freedom. The funeral procession traveled through three counties to arrive in Spencer to lay SSG Blass to rest. Thousands joined as a united community, not of a city or a county, but a region to show respect and honor to SSG Blass and show support and care to his family. Speaking on behalf of the Milford American Legion, we are honored and very grateful to be part of this great community. The support from within Dickinson County was amazing and humbling to all. Some have mentioned that even before the funeral procession arrived in town, they were in tears just from witnessing all the people, the flags and signs and seeing a unity to support this fallen soldier.

We would like to thank some groups that helped make everything come together. The Arnolds Park Okoboji, Milford and Spirit Lake Fire Departments all played critical parts for the public safety and patriotic display. Every police department and the sheriff's office in Dickinson County supported the funeral procession in several ways. The City of Milford put up flags as soon as they were notified the funeral procession was coming through town and helped pass out flags from the Milford American Legion. The Scoreboard Lounge donated to the pubic 500 flags to be used to show support. The Milford Commercial Club members passed out the Milford Legion Flags to the public. The Lake Park, Spirit Lake and Terril American Legions and the Spirit Lake VFW all brought color guards to the procession route.

Ann Miller from the Dickinson County Veterans Affairs Office assisted with the planning and started the pubic outreach. Milford Boy Scouts held several larger flags along the route. St. Joesph's and Union Memorial Church's opened their doors for gathering locations. The Dickinson County News and radio stations KUOO, KICD, KILR and KKOJ got the word out to the public and veterans about the times and locations.

The most important group to thank is the citizens that decorated building, signs and fence posts that lined the route and showed support for SSG Blass and his family. This support went further than most would imagine as it also showed support to our military members and the veterans within the community.

In Dickinson County, the schools work with the Character Counts Program. Following the funeral procession, I picked up my sons for the day. My son brought home a book marker he wanted me to read to him as part of the Character Counts Program. The book marker on one side had one word, "CARING." The other side of the book marker has a quote from Maya Angelou that states "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

This community came together as one and made our military, our veterans, our neighbors with us on the route and especially the family of SSG Blass feel true caring, love and patriotism and those feelings are something no one who saw this support will ever forget.

Thank you for your support!

Steve Anderson

Commander

Milford American Legion Post 384