The ceremony held in Riverside on Memorial Day, honoring those gave their lives while in the service, was very impressive as the names of the deceased were read. 

Thinking back, I was reminded of the young man from Riverside I had seen proudly wearing his uniform, many years ago. Unfortunately his name was one of those read during the ceremony. 

The ceremony also honored Ed Meksto, who turned 94 the day before Memorial Day, for his years of service to the country, a part of Ed I was not familiar with. My association with Ed was through his years of service to Riverside as village trustee and village president.

I had been told Ed wanted to talk with me following the ceremony, and what a pleasure it was. Ed wanted to reminisce about when Riverside celebrated the 1975 centennial of its incorporation. 

We served as part of a core committee for the event, which was chaired by village resident Don Clawson. Don was a big man in stature and liked his cigars. We laughed as we talked about how one always knew when Clawson had been in the room because in the ash tray was a very gnawed-on cigar. I don’t remember him smoking it, just him holding it and leaving it in the ashtray.

The committee put in long hours and with the help of many people the year-long event began with a centennial ball in January. The event was so large there wasn’t a venue big enough in town, so it was held in Northlake. 

Throughout the year many events took place. There was a pageant written by Sandy Fulscher. Valerie Kunz was part of the production group. An original song, “The Bend in the River” was written and somewhere, I am sure, there are copies. 

One of my fondest memories is the sight of the hot air balloons in the Big Ball Park. There were also commemorative items, including patches, a pewter plate and specially designed charms in both gold and silver. The final event was a big parade on Aug. 10, followed by a picnic at the Scout Cabin and Indian Gardens.

Our visit was too short, as always happens, but we plan to meet again. Ed Meksto a man to thank for his service to our country, our village and helping to plan a great celebration of Riverside.