PHIL IN THE BLANK: Independence inspiration

Independence Fest in Clintonwood Park was an incredible feat of organization and volunteer enthusiasm, but I knew something would be missing this year.
This was the first Fourth of July festival missed by Bart Clark, who passed away suddenly last September.
I offered to have a plaque made to present to Bart’s wife, Diane, in recognition of his service to the township’s Independence Day celebration, as well as the community.
I used a photo I took of Bart at a previous Independence Fest, decked out in his dress whites, and Barbara Rollin and I presented it to Diane at the ceremony.
It was the least I could do.
Bart and I both served on the volunteer committee in charge of organizing the veterans recognition ceremony and military memorabilia museum starting in 2011, when it was created.
At the time, I already knew Bart after writing for The Clarkston News for several years. He was always very active in the city and Independence Township.
But I was impressed at the Fourth of July events, seeing him in his dress white U.S. Navy uniform. He displayed some of the plaques he earned while commanding nuclear submarines during the Cold War. A longtime Tom Clancy fan, that was quite impressive to me.
He and the other vets wearing their old uniforms, which included a few from World War II at the time, was also impressive. In 2011, I was way too overweight to fit into my old uniforms. I would have them on display on my table, along with old photos and equipment. I could show people things I used to wear, and photos of what I used to look like.
So that and some other things got me to lose a bunch of weight, starting in 2013. I was still a bit too big to fit into them that year, but starting in 2014, I started wearing my old desert BDUs to Independence Fest.
Bart thought that was pretty cool.
After a couple years, Bart eventually mentioned the dress uniform he wore wasn’t his original. He had a new set made at some point after he retired. That didn’t matter.
The inspiration was already made.

One Response to "PHIL IN THE BLANK: Independence inspiration"

  1. Sue Wylie   July 13, 2017 at 7:55 pm

    This is such a nice tribute to Bart Clark. While I only met Bart a few times, he seems to inspired many people.


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