The best of the best
Ignoring an unwelcome watering of a downtown lawn by an over-lubricated or under-civilized alumnus lining up for Saturday’s parade, Old Settlers Day was, indeed, the best ever.
It wasn’t the parade itself — still more than 40 minutes of kids clamoring to be showered in tons of tossed candy. Nor was it the turnout — understandably down a tad as pandemic totals continue to rise.
Rather, it was the reappearance of decades-ago but fondly remembered teachers and alumni who, despite no longer having family here, came back, often from great distance, not to see whose hair had grayed the most or waistlines had expanded the least but to honor a connection that persists across many miles and across many lifetimes of memories.
Proud and strong middle school musicians and delicious samples of fare from a restaurant going into a building that has sat unused for far too long even offered hope that new settlers will be bringing even more to Old Settlers in the future.
Even better were solemn ceremonies later in the day in Pilsen for the brief return of its most famous, heroic, and saintly son.
Any fear anyone may have had about Pilsen not being secure enough to allow Father Emil Kapaun’s remains to rest there permanently with those of his parents should have been dispelled by how smoothly the event ran and by how many impassioned believers worked tirelessly to do whatever was needed.
Divinely inspired community spirit proved Pilsen far safer than any artificially secure neighborhood in Wichita ever could be. Hopefully, the saintly chaplain’s remains someday will be allowed to make one more journey home — for all time, not just a too-brief weekend.
— ERIC MEYER