I have long viewed Evansville as a very patriotic city. My vision is shaped by experiences growing up here as the Vietnam War came to a close, in the early days of the Freedom Festival (begun in 1970), and through the United States’ bicentennial celebration. Perhaps I view the city through red, white, and blue lenses. With my mother’s encouragement — she was an extremely patriotic grade school teacher — I produced the neighborhood bicentennial parade on July 4, 1976, which ultimately served to inspire the cover for this issue.
As we collected stories for our patriotic-themed issue — published at summer’s opening, to celebrate Memorial Day and Independence Day — we saw just how abundantly patriotism is displayed in Evansville. To illustrate our vision of patriotism, Creative Director Laura M. Mathis and I thought immediately about the art of Cedric Hustace. Evansville Living had featured Hustace’s art before (March/April 2002 and July/August 2012); he even painted a portrait of an early Evansville Living Idea Home. Hustace’s immediately recognizable, broad impressionistic acrylic paint strokes say “Evansville” to us.
To create our imagined, nostalgic parade, we supplied Hustace with reference photos of the Greencove Acres 1976 Bicentennial parade. (That’s my youngest sister, Tiffany, age 5, with training wheels. Credit goes to my middle sister, Miekka, for posting the photos first on social media.) Mathis supplied Hustace with photographs of Main Street where we would paint our parade. Main Street has long been the site of many patriotic parades through the years. Artist Hustace obliged with my instructions to please not paint in the ugly iron awnings that bisect our pretty Main Street buildings.
While reporting on patriotism, we affirmed what we already knew: national patriotism transcends naturally to local patriotism. I met Doretha “Dee” Diefenbach-Hines when she visited our offices for advice on printing her research about local soldiers in the Grand Army of the Republic as well as her research on unidentified or misidentified soldiers’ grave markers at Locust Hill Cemetery. Diefenbach-Hines is easily described as a true patriot; read her story by Andrew Fendrich.
We’re pleased in this issue to present the voice of Steven E. Chancellor, CEO of American Patriot Group. I could not edit a feature about Evansville’s patriotism without asking this iconic business leader — who boldly displays his patriotic pride in the names of his companies, the design of American Patriot Group’s headquarters, and in his own values and home — about his patriotic influences and views. We are happy Chancellor agreed to talk with me and Managing Editor Victoria Grabner.
As warmer summer months approach, I hope you find much to enjoy in this issue of Evansville Living. As always, I look forward to hearing from you.
Kristen K. Tucker
Publisher & Editor
Read “300 Words,” the editor’s blog, updated weekly, usually on Mondays.