Injured Niles soldier returns to workPublished 9:34am Wednesday, July 4, 2012
If anyone knows the significance of the Fourth of July holiday, it is Ken Kunze.
Kunze, who grew up in Niles, is a captain in the U.S. Marine Corps now stationed in Kansas City, Mo.
Kunze’s brother-in-law, David Jackson, of Niles, is one of the 10 Michigan National Guardsmen injured when an improvised explosive device exploded near their convoy in Afghanistan in May.
Kunze said Jackson returned to duty a few weeks ago and is recovering well from injuries sustained in the attack.
“What he did, and what we are doing over there, makes all of this possible,” said Kunze while holding his 1-year-old son, Cole, on his shoulders Tuesday at the Apple Festival grounds in Niles.
Kunze was one of thousands of people packing the grounds for the city’s 27th annual fireworks display.
Melvin Ehas, of Niles, was sitting in a camping chair next to his wife, Dawn, at the edge of the Ring Lardner Middle School parking lot. Their son, Mason, was sitting behind them on a chair in the bed of their pickup truck.
Melvin said his family has been watching the fireworks display from the same spot the past 40 years.
“This is about patriotism,” Melvin said. “It’s the one time of they year when its okay to wave the flag and have a good time.”
The Fourth of July also happens to be Dawn’s birthday.
“It gets celebrated every year whether I want to or not,” Dawn said.
Both said they are glad the city puts on a fireworks show every year.
“It gives everyone something to look forward to,” Dawn said, “plus you get to see people you haven’t seen for a long time.”
The fireworks show is presented by the Four Flags Area Chamber of Commerce and its business members.