Awe. The flags waving along with the red, white and blue banners stretched across downtown Kilgore are awe inspiring. It is enough to take the breath away even without seeing the fireworks bursting in the air between the lighted derricks.
Thankfully, the Fourth of July celebrations began long before that day commemorating freedom and those who fought and continue to fight for the red, white and blue.
“My father fought in WWII,” said Janice Cameron. “He knew the Germans were coming and he lay down and rolled under a tree. He watched the boots of German soldiers as they walked right by the tree. Only when he could no longer see or hear them did he move from his spot. He was the only survivor left out of his whole platoon. Can you imagine laying under a tree still enough that no one saw him?”
“Obviously, he made it back to his company or I wouldn’t be here,” she laughed.
“I read a bunch of Daddy’s letters on the Fourth of July,” she continued. “I felt a lot of pride, cried a little and laughed a few times. Back in the day when people wrote letters, they wrote like they talked. He tried to stay upbeat in his letter writing and told his family not to worry. Only one time did he mention they would be notified if something happened to him. They were in a foxhole with snow, rain and artillery fire coming in on them. He said if the letter was a little scratchy it was because he said you couldn’t help but jump a little when one came in; you just never got used to it and they sure sound better going out than in’ he wrote.”
Her father, Cpl. W. A. “Andy” Cameron served in Company K, 114th Infantry, 44th Infantry Division and fought at the Battle of the Bulge. During the occupation he served as M.P. in the 1064th M.P. Company. Posted on her Facebook page are the letters he received on May 9, 1945 from Major General O.P. Weyland and another from Dwight D. Eisenhower declaring the “task which we set ourselves is finished.” He received his honorable discharge at Camp Fanin on January 12, 1946.
JANICE was one of the first in the area to host a patriotic party for her Lean in Circle of friends. It was held on June 28 in her home. Attending were Kelly Watson, Wanda Billings, Linda Ballard, Gayle Mitchell, Cynthia Beck and Elizabeth Tullar. What started as a hot dog supper ended up being a full-fledged barbecue.
“MY GRANDFATHER fought in WWI,” said Pastor Earl “Buddy” Duggins. “He crawled in a large hollow tree when he heard soldiers coming. German soldiers actually sat down on the tree and were there for about two hours before leaving. He had to remain perfectly still the whole time.”
Rev. Duggins served in the U.S. Marines. A patriotic service last Sunday at Forest Home Baptist Church honored each branch of the service as well as first responders.
STEPHEN FAIN celebrated his thirty-sixth birthday at home on the Fourth of July. He served 10 years in the U.S. Air Force before coming home to Kilgore.
“This I the first time in many years, I have had him home for his birthday,” said his mother, Nora. “We did it all. Cooked barbecue, went swimming, made homemade ice cream and cupcakes; then gathered up and went to the City Park to watch the fireworks,” she said. (Happy belated birthday, Stephen and thanks for your service.)
DEBBIE AND ALLEN VAN DOREN had a following at the park, Wednesday evening. The couple arrived shortly after the band started playing for the Fourth of July celebration and before she could figure out
where she was supposed to park her ice cream wagon, people flagged her down to get after the delicious treat. Watching them in action was somewhat funny as Debbie was intent on doing the right thing by finding a designated spot. To the delight of those following her, she finally told Allen, “I think I will just stop and let them have what they want. I guess this is as good a place as any.”
ALSO enjoying the fireworks was Treasure Clark who was in town visiting with Rob, Donna and Kathryn Shupe. The daughter of Rob’s cousin, she is from Tiff City, Missouri. On one side of the road where she lives is Oklahoma and on the other side Missouri and her parents run the Stateline Dairy Farm. WELCOME TO KILGORE, TREASURE. Hope you enjoy the remainder of the week.
HOT DOGS! Yes, I had plenty of hot dogs all week long. For those who remember, I enjoy a trek across several communities on the Fourth of July to find the best one. I have to confess the best ones came from Forest Home Baptist Church. It may have been because they were catered to me at work by Sheroa and Stephanie Hennigan. But, thanks to everyone who made it a delight one more year.
MISSION BOUND is Maria and Jotham Van Der Decker and daughters 2 ½ yr. old Rahab, 1 ½ yr. old Ellie and 5 month old Chloe. They will be leaving for Papua, New Guinea on July 10. The Van Der Decker family will be gone for four years before returning to the states for a year and then back to New Guinea for another four years.
“My husband grew up in New Guinea,” said Maria. “But, this is the first time for us to go. We have had years of Bible and Mission training preparing us for this mission.
“We will be with an organization called Ethnos 360 that has a mission center in Papua,” she continued. “There are 850 languages in New Guinea and we are trying to translate the Bible and help those in outlying regions to be able to set up their own church. Missionaries in the field have no grocery stores, no telephones and many cases no running water. My husband knows a lot about solar power and he can help repair generators and help with that sort of need. We will also be purchasing groceries for them. I am an education consultant and can help do things like set up required curriculum for the children and help them plan a future.”
Kilgore Bible Church is the main sponsors for the Van Der Deckers. Other churches in the area also help support their mission. May their journey be blessed.
WE MAY be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 903-984-2593. In the meantime, May His Love and Laughter Fill Your Hearts and Your Homes Throughout the Week.