On June 10, 1952, the US Army Corps of Engineers dedicated its $45-million Harlan County, Nebraska, dam and reservoir.
The all-day celebration drew ten thousand people from the Republican River valley.
A huge parade in Alma, Nebraska, my home town, kicked off the celebration. A color guard led eleven bands, twenty-eight floats, a drum and bugle corps, ten saddle clubs, a fire department truck, and a line of massive construction trucks used to build the dam.
My sister, Margaret, led the Alma High School band. I marched with it and carried a heavy glockenspiel, its bulky keyboard shaped like a lyre. When I hit its steel keys with a mallet, a bright bell-like tone sliced through the air.
As we neared the end of the hour-long march, I spotted Dad standing in the crowd. Afterward, I scampered to him. "How'd I do?"
"Oh, you were terrific!" A smile played across his face. "Everyone was out of step but you."