Impressions of the Strasburg Centennial

Masterson, Jolenta Fischer. "Impressions of the Strasburg Centennial." Emmons County Record, 18 July 2002, 2.

From the moment we drove into town, I knew this was going to be a special celebration. When I saw the big red and white tent, I knew they meant business. When I saw the efficiency of getting everyone registered with special nametags and schedules, I knew they were organized. When I saw them feed over a thousand people so well and in so short a time, I realized they were doing a great job.

First thing, we had to decorate our float to represent the class of 1946. It really was a 'float' because it was Bill Keller's fishing float on pontoons. Suddenly I was in the middle of the kids I had gone to school with and even though we were all more than 50 years older, for just a moment, it did not feel like that. We celebrated the fact that in 1946, we became the Clippers and were District Champions. And for the first time, we got to ride in a parade!

Never did I see a parade route so nicely done. The side streets became the Main Street as the parade wound its way through the town. It went past the people who were sitting comfortably in the shade in front of their homes, visiting with friends and relatives who had come back to Strasburg for the centennial celebration. The route was thoughtfully planned to go by the Strasburg Care Center not once, but twice! That way, many of the folks who live in the Care Center now, people who helped to make the town what it is, could see the parade. How great!

Later, to meet in the classrooms with your old classmates, to see people you had not seen in so many years wandering in the halls, to be stopped by total strangers, who suddenly became recognized as old friends, to receive and to give hugs seemed unreal. It was a strange feeling when I would see a face that looked familiar and then realize that it was the son or daughter of a friend that I had known 50 years ago. I knew that I was remembering the face of the father or mother. And it was a strange but wonderful feeling! On Saturday morning, there was another parade. This time we sat comfortably in the shade and enjoyed watching the parade go by. I do think my brother, Henry Fischer, had more fun than anyone as he rode on a float with his classmates of 1955. They had their own musician playing an accordion and they were merrily singing old school songs. Included in that parade was the 188th Army Band. It was a real treat to hear the band perform again that afternoon under the big tent. The concert made me remember the Saturday night band concerts that the Strasburg Band would play in the bandstand that is no more. The bandstand stood just about where the K of C Hall stands now. It was a special thrill to see the old fire truck in a place of honor. My brother, Jack Fischer, remembers getting to ride on it when our Dad, Wend Fischer, would take the truck to service it. It made me remember the fire bell that long ago was hung on a tower between the old Blue room and the Kraft Brothers Store.

The Ecumenical service on Sunday morning was the last thing we attended. It was beautifully done, and the tent was full of folks who most likely were also filled with a variety of emotions. The service was a testament to the blending of a community over the past century. For a small town to host that many visitors in such great style certainly does reflect well on the folks who live there now. The pioneer men and women who settled there 100 years ago would be so proud.

As we drove away from Strasburg that Sunday afternoon there were tears in my eyes. It was tears of joy because I was able to be part of the celebration. Joy because of the opportunity to meet many old friends and classmates. And there was pride to be able to say, 'Strasburg, N.D., is my home town.'

Reprinted with permission of the Emmons County Record.

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