This weekend can not over shadow the reality of what happened this day four years ago. Joel 'Lothar' Magnuson, of the Racine Kilties, collapsed during the opener of their Preliminary performance on Saturday, September 3, 2005. Although they were able to re-establish a heart beat when the ambulance left the stadium, he was later pronounced at the hospital.
In 2005, my last performance on the field prior to this year, I was a performing member of the Govenaires. I was in the concourse when I heard what happened, and ran down the stairs to see a lone mellophone laying on the field, and Lothar being worked on just off the 50.
Joel was my bus seat partner in the Blue Stars. That 1980 season was bitter sweet as we just missed finals by placing 13th. Joel and I stayed in touch over the years, and when the Kilties returned, he was a charter member of the re-surging All Age corps. I always looked forward to the Drum Corps season, and an opportunity to visit with my good friend, belt out dirty songs while swigging the beverage of our choice, and taking no prisoners in the process.
Joel was buried in his Uniform, but ribbons cut from the plaid of the very uniform he was wearing that day were made available to those in attendance. On my memorial wall, I have a tribute to Lothar, with the ribbon taped to the obituary with his photo. Before I left for the weekend, I took that picture down, and clipped a small piece from the plaid. I taped it to the brim of my shako, where I will be able to look up, and pay tribute to my fallen brother, before I step off on this historic weekend.
Joel, you are deeply missed and never forgotten. I toast to you often, and think of you repeatedly. Know you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers this weekend. And when I take the field, both Saturday and Sunday, you will be with me, in spirit and in uniform.
My Saturday performance is dedicated to you, brother, my first DCA on the field since you left us. I will commit to not letting you down.
For All We Know