Marcophiles: Counting down to Veteran’s Memorial dedication

CHRIS CURLE
The Veterans' Memorial Monument is nearing completion and should be ready for the big day, Nov. 11, when it will be dedicated officially at Veterans' Community Park. Eight flags on lighted poles will flank the memorial. Chris Curle/Eagle Correspondent

The Veterans' Memorial Monument is nearing completion and should be ready for the big day, Nov. 11, when it will be dedicated officially at Veterans' Community Park. Eight flags on lighted poles will flank the memorial. Chris Curle/Eagle Correspondent

— Farmer’s Market days will come and go at the city park at 901 Park Avenue. And Christmas tree lightings will continue to brighten the park every December.

But one day will stand alone in the history of that park. It’s usually referred to as 11/11/11, Veterans Day, the day our Veterans’ memorial will be dedicated at Veterans’ Community park. It will be a memorable day.

Dave Gardner, a former commander of our VFW Post 6370 here, is a member of the committee that designed the monument at the park. He explains what will happen on this coming 11/11/11 ...

“The program will start at 10:25 am with a dedication ceremony by the City of Marco Island, with numerous people being thanked for their participation in making this beautiful memorial possible. This includes planning, fundraising, contracting and expediting of the construction process.

“At 11 o’clock the city will turn the observance over to the Marco Island VFW, which will conduct its memorial service. The special guest and featured speaker will be U. S. Army Major General James Guest. As Captain Guest, he was the Commander of Company D, 2nd Battalion (airborne), 8th Cavalry, 1st Air Cav Division in Vietnam. One of the men who served under his command was Marco’s own Jim Lang.

Dave Gardner explained the significance of the timing of this event.

“The 11th hour has an important meaning, as it was on 11 o’clock of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 that the Allied powers and Germany signed the armistice ending World War One.”

Dave urges people attending the observance on 11/11/11 to take umbrellas because the young trees there don’t yet provide shade. Some chairs will be available, but you may wish to bring your own in case of an overflow crowd.

Panther festival is a family-friendly event

The bizarre events last week involving wild animals released in Ohio have raised the public’s awareness of exotic, often endangered animals in captivity in this country.

That headline happening probably will be on the minds of some visitors to the First Annual Florida Panther Festival this Saturday at North Collier Regional Park in Naples.

That’s because of the palpable contrast between the sad, sorry spectacle of human and animal disaster in Zanesville and the upbeat, positive celebration of efforts to save the Florida panther.

As area residents and visitors tour the panther-related exhibits, listen to live music and enjoy events especially for children, they also will get the good news that our panther population has increased. It’s not enough yet, an estimated 100 to 160 here, but it’s improving from a low of 12 to 20 adult panthers here in the 1980s.

In addition to the free festival events on Saturday, several field trips are available on Friday into areas in Southwest Florida where panthers roam. You’ll need to register for the field trips and check the fees via the web site: www.FloridaPantherFestival.com or call (239) 353-8442, ext. 229.

Make no mistake, the Florida panther, a subspecies of puma, still is one of the most endangered animals in the world. So the festival should raise our knowledge and our appreciation for these beautiful beasts, even as we lament the loss of life on that farm in Ohio.

Chris Curle is a former news anchor for CNN and for ABC-TV stations in Washington, D.C., Atlanta and Houston. E-mail chris@chriscurle.com.

Don is a former ABC News correspondent and bureau chief and a former news anchor for CNN and ABC-TV, in Atlanta. His Farmer File column appears Fridays in the Naples Daily News. E-mail: don@donfarmer.com.

© 2011 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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