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Daily News Editorial

By Staff | Oct 10, 2008

This Sunday at 2 p.m., Estherville Lutheran Church will rededicate its “Mighty Wurlitzer” organ in a special concert at the church at 208 N. Eighth St.

This is a fine example of how even a relatively small group of people can band together for a cause and do great things.

The organ, which was completely refurbished at a cost of $70,000, represents a tradition that goes back to the time when the present church was built. Indeed, the church was was built around the area where the pipes are located.

Thanks to $10,000 in seed money from a memorial, parishioners have contributed $65,000 to date to pay for digitizing and rebuilding the organ and cabinet. The result is a resounding sound that is truly impressive.

Dr. Richard Lepird, who is known widely here and abroad for his dedication to humanitarian causes, headed the fundraising effort. Donors from $50 to $500 and more receive momentoes from the old organ keyboard such as keys and stops. What a wonderful way to remember such a piece of history.

Originally located in the Sun Theatre in York, Neb., in 1929, the Wurlitzer was officially dedicated at First Lutheran Church in 1942. It was just after the Great Depression and the beginning of World War II, both events that deeply affected the American psyche for decades to come.

Similarly, America today has wars on two fronts and a serious economic crisis. The fact that a congregation can rise to the occasion in a time of such stress and turmoil is a testament to their dedication and commitment to the past and faith in the future.

Anyone who says Americans, and particularly Iowans, are not made of the same stuff they were in the 1930s and 1940s is wrong. When the Depression and World War II came, no one was prepared for what was to come. There was no way they possibly could be. But people came together and helped each other. They sacrificed and America prevailed.

Very similar adversities are challenging America now. But as raising funds for the organ attests, we believe in the same values as our ancestors.

And that says a lot for us all.