From: Randy R. Langowski
I am a Winona native and a United States Marine Corps veteran. The military gave me the opportunity to be stationed at a few bases across the United States. My family and I moved back to my beautiful hometown in 2002. As the old saying goes, “There’s no place like home.” This is so very true. I was having a conversation with a good friend a few weeks ago and we both agreed that this area of the country is just as beautiful as anywhere in the whole world!
Winona loves its veterans, and that is such a great feeling. Marching in the parades with the Hiawatha Valley Marines in Winona and the surrounding towns gives me such a warm feeling in my soul. Seeing and hearing the patriotic people and their children waving their American flags, and clapping their approval gives me a lump in my throat. Being part of the Winona American Legion burial detail,
(to be entrusted to the sacred farewell of a veteran from Winona,) is an honor and a privilege. As part of the ceremony, we fire three volleys from our military rifles on command. Then the command is given for the bugler to sound Taps. That song played by a military bugle really touches people (including me), because our very own burial detail bugler, Jack Ehlers, passed away less than two years ago. Jack was a World War II hero and was also a great father and friend to all who knew him.
Now we need to find ways to revitalize downtown Winona. The annual Winona Steamboat Days Car Show has been a huge economic boost to many downtown merchants. (Just ask the owner of Blooming Grounds!) Jim Remlinger has done a fantastic job this past five plus years, taking charge and working on all the preparations for most of the entire year, and it shows. This year, hopefully, will be the biggest turnout of cars-and people at the events! I have been fortunate enough to be part of Jim’s staff the past four years. Jim and I can visualize how this annual car show hopefully will evolve into weekly bands at Levee Park, as well as weekly cruise nights that many surrounding towns already have. These weekly cruises stop at various Winona businesses.
A couple of years ago Jim Remlinger and his wife invited Mayor Jerry Miller and his wife to go to the Hastings, Minn., car show. They were amazed at all the people, all the cars and also how the downtown merchants were doing lots of business! Jim explained to Mayor Miller that Winona could be the same. Hastings, Minn., for 2013 has its car show every other Saturday from June 1 - October 5. Think of all that revenue. Hastings is a small town by the river, just like Winona. Hopefully our new mayor will see the big picture, please.
Winona has something for everyone...so much to list that I would miss something. We need to rekindle the spirit of Winona before it’s too late. Our beautiful river city has so much to offer. Please people, don’t let time slip away, because life is short and today could very well be our last. We need to cherish what we have here in our own backyard. So, in the upcoming days and weeks make plans, please, to get out and enjoy all the wonderful activities and events that are provided for your enjoyment. You will be glad you did. Because life is short, stay happy and always remember “every day is a gift...not a given!”