Harlan Siebert served as the parade marshal for this year's Veterans Day Parade in Uptown Jackson. Photo by Jay Forness
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Hometown Pride: Harlan Siebert

by Jay Forness ~ Assistant Editor
Hometown Pride features a person each week who helps make the community better.

Harlan Siebert was the parade marshal at this year’s Veterans Day Parade on Saturday in Jackson. Siebert is a World War II veteran and has been involved in various organizations in Jackson including American Legion and serving on the city council from 1960-1962. Siebert was also one of the founding owners of Straightway Farm Service.

How did it feel to be this year’s parade marshal?

It’s glamorous. I turned it down several times originally, due to my health, but they insisted I come on down anyhow. So here I am. I’ve been a member at the American Legion for a long time. I’ve been a trustee for 12-15 years, mowing the grass and keeping things in order.

Are you originally from this area?

I was born and raised in the county, and I went to public schools in the county and went to Jackson High School. I was in the Class on 1945, so that tells you how old I am.

Can you talk about your time in the Army?

I went to training at Fort McClellan, AL. I spent eight weeks there and I came home. I was transferred to California for my placement. I ended up in Japan, at the headquarters of I Corps there in Japan. I stayed there nine months, and worked in the post office.

I went through a earthquake of a 7.2 nature. It shook our building seriously, but the buildings there are built for earthquakes. It’s unbelievable. After the earthquake settled down, our building stayed still as a mouse. I couldn’t believe it. We did some traveling around in Japan. We took our weekends for entertainment. Went to several towns, but the Japanese culture is way different than ours.

I stayed there nine months, like I said, and then I was up for recall and came back to California again. Then I came back home and I joined the American Legion.  

What else did you do after the war?

Two of my brothers [and I] started a business out here on 72 West, and it’s now called Straightway Farm Service. It was just Straightway Service at the beginning, and new ownership came in 1980. We were in the farm business — we had feed and farm supplies. I was one of the main owners of the business from 1948 to 1980.

We served a lot of farmers. I was also in a trucking service. I would haul livestock to market for the county. At one time, I was manager of the Cape County Shipping Association. It went away — the auction barge came in and took over the trucking business. And that’s about the nature of it.

I retired and I kept helping the company as a parts runner or whenever they needed me to help. That was in 1980, and I was also occupied with woodworking. I have a woodworking shop, and I play cards. My wife and I traveled to all the states, along with Hawaii and Germany. We were thankful that we had a chance to do that.

Can you talk about your work with various local veteran organizations?

I joined the American Legion right after I got out of service, and then I joined the VFW 10495. I was a Legion commander and also a VFW commander in those years. I spent a lot of my volunteer time with the Brookside Memorial. I was the supply manager for 160 plus casket flags, and I helped maintain the things that happened at the memorial. And I was also involved with the honor guard, which has a lot to do with the public. I was very close with my honor guard funerals. It was indeed an honor to even be a guard in the funeral homes for the soldiers who were members of the army.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of being a veteran. And I want to stress highly that to be a veteran, you have to serve something you can’t buy.

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