Tuesday, August 27, 2013

View From The Bridge 8/28/13

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
By Muncie

Awesome!  We knew it and now the whole United States of America knows it.  On the front page of The River Press last week was the announcement from Forbes Magazine.  Fort Benton, Montana, is one of fifteen towns chosen by Forbes as the prettiest towns in America.  I have known it for 20 years and it is one of the reasons that I love Fort Benton.

The visitor that I wrote about last week also found it to be true and is what he talked about.  He said to tell the leaders of our community what a great job they had done to beautify Front Street and The Levee, especially The Levee Walking Trail.  Did I mention that he commented on the historic signs and how attractive they are?  He also admired the Visitors Information Center.  I told him the whole story of the beginnings of the Visitors Information Center in the small space where the restrooms now are.  We’ve come a long way from the time we had to close if it rained. 

If I could look into the future I would like to see many additions to The Levee.  I would like to see the Levee Walking Trail extended north and south.  (I know that Fort Benton sits Northeast and Southwest but just to make it simple I refer to it as North and South.)  I would like to see more of the storefronts on Front Street with a western look. 

The F.B.I., (Fort Benton Idealist Organization,) had talked about some small wrought iron tables and chairs outside some of the businesses.  We talked about more attractive waste contains for which I have already gotten a grant.  I would like to start with four containers between the Grand Union and The Old Fire House.  (There is a hold on this project because of details to be worked out with the Disposal Company.)

This idea has never been discussed with anyone except for one of the business owners and me.  The same trash containers could be used to plant trees on the business side of Front Street.

Perhaps I am sticking my neck out far enough to get chopped off but I would like to know what your ideas are.  I know there are those of you who will say, “I do not want any change, I like things the way they are.”  I agree to a point.  Everything changes constantly and we have to go with the flow.  Just as with your home improvements, there are improvements to make our town as attractive and beautiful as we can.  It is called, “Community Pride.”

I have asked many times about comments, suggestions, or ideas to an article that I have written about.  To date, I have never received any phone calls.  I know for a fact that we have many bright people out there reading the River Press.  Just like everyone has a story, everyone has an idea.  Let’s hear about them.

#5.  So every person in a pickup truck waves.  It’s called being friendly.  Try to understand the concept

We returned late Sunday afternoon from Whitefish where we attended our granddaughter Emily’s wedding.
While staying there, we found out that the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial Wall was in town.  It was set up in a large field across from the Grouse Mountain Lodge. 
One of the facts that I learned from a V.F.W. Post member/volunteer was that Whitefish was the only town that the Memorial Wall would be displayed in Montana this year.  He said they would pack up tomorrow (Monday,) and move on to Iowa. 

One of the tents had lists of names and panels that guided you to where you could find a particular name.  They also had a sheet with all the Montana names.  There was only one young man from Fort Benton and that was SP4 William Elling Swensgard.  He was killed 9/21/67 in Vietnam.  I did some research but did not find any family ties.  He graduated from Fort Benton High School.  There are no records in the Veterans Photo and Bio book.  If anyone remembers this young man, please contact me.  I’m in the phone book.

Other interesting, heartbreaking facts are that there are 58,272 carved names of American military personnel, dating from 1957 to 1975.  Name rubbings cannot be done on this display but you can send for an authentic rubbing from Washing, D.C.  What a wonderful service that is for those who cannot travel.

These sheets about the Memorial will be placed in the Veterans Bio books at the Sunrise Bluffs.  I was also given a beautiful greeting card with, “SUPPORT OUR TROOPS,” on it.  (Note:  B.J. Conn McIntyre had returned to Fort Benton and took the time to update the Veteran’s Photo project lists before she had to leave again.  I still have to frame the pictures and catch up with the bios.  I will do that a.s.a.p.)