26 May 2010 by Published in: Opinion No comments yet

Remember Memorial Day

Editorial Comments by Deborah Steele Hazen

To many people, Memorial Day – indeed the entire three-day weekend at the end of May – has become a time for mini-vacations and get-togethers with friends and relatives. We certainly have nothing against weekend getaways or family gatherings, but we hope that you will take some time on Memorial Day to remember and honor its original meaning

In the words of former President Bill Clinton, written a decade ago, “Memorial Day represents one day of national awareness and reverence, honoring those Americans who died while defending our nation and its values. While we should honor these heroes every day for the profound contribution they have made to securing our nation’s freedom, we should honor them especially on Memorial Day.”

According to a Memorial Day history website sponsored by the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War organization,”Traditional observance of Memorial Day has diminished over the years. Many Americans nowadays have forgotten the meaning and traditions of Memorial Day. At many cemeteries, the graves of the fallen are increasingly ignored, neglected. Most people no longer remember the proper flag etiquette for the day. While there are towns and cities that still hold Memorial Day parades, many have not held a parade in decades. Some people think the day is for honoring any and all dead, and not just those fallen in service to our country.”

We are happy that Clatskanie and Rainier still have traditional observance of Memorial Day observances. (See story at right for more details.)

If you have not attended these events recently (or ever), please consider adding them to your Memorial weekend activities. Take a few minutes to join with local veterans and other community members to remember those who gave the ultimate price so that we could continue to live in freedom.

We are grateful to the members of the Clatskanie Kiwanis Club who stepped forward several years ago to assist the dwindling ranks of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars posts, so that there was enough man (and woman) power to continue the breakfasts. Members of local boy and cub scout troops have helped with the placing of flags on the graves of veterans in area cemeteries in recent years. This is a huge job that has been accomplished by our local veterans organizations for years.

We are even more grateful that veterans of the Vietnam War, Desert Storm and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have begun to join the local veterans organizations, which were founded by World War I veterans and led through the last half of the 20th century by World War II and Korean veterans. We hope that more younger veterans will become involved.

There are traditions that must not die, and one of those is the remembering and honoring of men and women who have given their lives for our nation and the cause of freedom around the world.

The Chief’s Birthday

On a far less important note, but one that is, perhaps, still worth mentioning, this week marks the 119th birthday of this newspaper.

The first issue of The Clatskanie Chief was published on May 29, 1891. At the top of the front page of this edition, right under “the flag” (the title of the newspaper) it says “Volume 119” on the left and “Number 1” on the right. Last week’s Chief was Volume 118, Number 52. all of that means that we completed our 118th year of continuous publication last week, and this year we are beginning our 119th year.

As we have noted before, The Chief was founded by a man named F.T. Shute, but before the 1890s ended, it was being published by W.H. And Nora Conyers. Then, by 1910, two men with the last names of Bayliss and Suit were the publishers.

By the time my grandfather, Art Steele, bought it in 1922, Bayliss was still involved, but so was a woman editor by the memorable name of Minne Goodenough Hyde.

For the past 88 years, The Chief has been owned and operated by four generations of the Steele family.

Our goal is very much what was stated by F.T. Shute in the very first issue 119 years ago:

The Chief “will be independent, and will at all times advocate the general interests of Clatskanie and Columbia County. We shall strive to give the local news of affairs that are constantly occurring in this section. And its columns will be open to articles that will be of general interest and benefit to all.

“That we may successfully carry out this plan, we ask those that are not subscribers to become so, to give us your advertisements, and your patronage both by word and deed in various ways.

“Thanking those that have helped us in various ways by their friendly assistance to get us started, we would say in conclusion, that the good will manifested, and encouraging and friendly sentiment extended to us, we highly appreciate.”

The four generations of our family who have been involved in the publishing of this newspaper have devoted most of our waking hours to keeping Chief readers informed about the news of Northwest Oregon, but we could not have continued all thse years if it hadn’t been for the very loyal and hardworking non-family staff members who have played integral roles in the publishing of this newspaper.

While the print version continues to be our main vehicle, we have had a free website for over a decade and have recently updated it. If you haven’t seen it lately, we invite you to visit www.clatskaniechief news.com.

We also have embraced the electronic age by offering e-mailed subscriptions – of each page of the paper – to out-of-state and out-of-nation subscribers who prefer to receive it that way. Our “Chief Bulletin” e-mail service provides breaking news to subscribers from weather advisories to law enforcement issues to highway closures.

If you would like to know more about these services, please call our office at 503 728-3350 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, or e-mail chief@ clatskanie.com or circulation@ clatskanie.com.

There has been much written and stated in recent years about the demise of newspapers. Much of it may be true in regard to big-city dailies which compete with television and the Internet to report national and international news.

But small-town weeklies are surviving because they are still the best source for news of local communities.

The Clatskanie Chief is 119 years old and going strong. With your continued interest and support we plan to continue providing the best, most consistent and complete coverage of local people and events for many years to come.


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