As you drive down the street on Memorial Day, you will see the brick paved streets adorned with the United States Flag. These flags are distributed by our local veterans, and active military. There is significant difference between Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day, aside from when they land on the calendar.
The last day of May, is set aside for Memorial Day honoring the men and women who gave their lives while serving in the military. Monday was a time to reflect, a time to recognize and appreciate our American patriots who gave the ultimate sacrifice in service to the nation. Veterans day recognizes all military personnel who didn’t come home.
Larry Lavicky was drafted into the US Army at the age of 21 to serve his country during the Vietnam War. SPC Lavicky was honored to be a part of the 59th Land Clearing Co. (the Bushwackers) from 1969-1971, where he excelled as a mechanic. Lavicky loved hearing his Army buddies singing and playing instruments. Bluegrass was a distinctive part of the war days, and SPC Lavicky had a soft spot for Wildwood Flower, which stuck with him through the years. While not a musician himself, Lavicky loved the inspiration he found in traditional country and bluegrass music.
While back in the United States, Lavicky’s family were residing in a small Northwestern Community. After Larry left the service, he worked both as a wheat farmer and a welder. His daughter Amy shared, “Every year at harvest, Dad would buy a new small American flag, and hang it from the Gleaner L2 combine. The American flag flew daily until harvest was complete. I always admired my Dad for that. It was very special.” Larry was very proud to have served his country, and he never let his patriotism be far behind him.
An only child of Larry and Linda, Amy Lavicky grew up in this rural community, the child of a United States Army veteran. She expressed interest in the fiddle at a young age, and her parents began the hunt for her first instrument. It cost only $100, and was purchased at a second hand store in North Enid, Oklahoma. Being instructed by Shirley Landrum (who also taught, Kyle Dillingham and Kyle Nix), Lavicky cannot read music, but her natural talent kept her going. Amy plays by ear, and does her best to “play pretty,” as instructed by Landrum. Shirley, no stranger to the bluegrass world, is said to have even had an influence on a young Vince Gill. Her son-in-law is Virgil Bonham, and she and her family played as Shirley Landrum & the Bluegrass Partners.
Amy finds music healing and therapeutic. “It is beyond special for me to get to play music for some of the people who meant so much to my Dad. Music helped him get through hard times, and now for me to have the opportunity to help others heal through music means so much to me.”
The fiddle Lavicky plays today was given to her by her Grandmother. “My Grandma bought a fiddle for me at an auction several years ago. Before it was sold, they shared a story about the fiddle. The guy who owned it was in World War II, and stationed in France. He played that fiddle for the soldiers down in the foxholes. My Grandpa was in the Army Air Corps in World War II, so it makes my fiddle even more special to me. The fiddle is an Ole Bull.”
Recently, Lavicky was honored to play Amazing Grace at the Wall that Heals, while it was on display at Stillwater, OK.
Lavicky will travel to Washington, D.C. in September where she will be honored to play at the 59th LCC 2019 reunion, where she will once again bow Amazing Grace, this time at the Vietnam Memorial Wall.
Larry Lavicky, is no longer with us as his battle with MS took his life, but his patriotism and his love of music, live on with his daughter, Amy Lavicky.