What’s in a name that’s carved in stone

by Verla Peichl Review Correspondent

The Sheboygan County Veterans Memorial now has a new stone for names of loved ones that have served in the military. Eric Zabel, of Zabel Monuments, began engraving 50 new names on the new wall. Zabel uses silica sand for the engraving.

The Sheboygan County Veterans Memorial is located at 3901 Wilgus Road. It is visible from Highway 23 and is easily accessed off of Erie Avenue using 29th Street.

The veterans memorial is a special place and if you don’t believe me, stop and visit the quietness for a short time, not only to read the names but to take notice that a new stone has recently been placed.

I became involved while helping get out the recognition of the memorial several years ago. Allen Nohl, a Viet Nam veteran, has been avid in the effort to see this memorial expand and become a lasting place of remembrance for our military hero’s.

I never thought about it much, as to what it truly means to have a name engraved on one of the stones, until I decided to do it for my father. I asked Nohl what was required and he told me there was a $150 flat fee and I had to have copies of my Dads discharge papers. I had both, so we were set.

It’s not that I ever had a tremendously close relationship with my dad, but I did know that he always seemed to enjoy being in the service. Sometimes I thought he preferred being in the service instead of being a dad, but that was alright.

He was stationed at Fort Hickman, Hawaii, and was a part of the “clean-up” crew. That’s exactly what it sounds like.

He was a part of the cleanup crew after Pearl Harbor. He did talk about seeing the ships sticking out of the water and the floating debris and how he wished he could see the Pearl Harbor Memorial. Unfortunately he never did, but that didn’t change how he felt about America and the flag.

That’s what prompted me to have his name engraved on a stone at the Veterans Memorial. The flag. I would watch the flag wave whenever I was there and would remember how much respect he had for it.

When he was still alive, I would watch him place that flag in the holder every morning and at dusk he would gently remove it, and if there was a threat of rain it would automatically be taken down, folded and placed in a dry, safe, place.

When his name was engraved I went to the memorial to find where it had been placed. When I found it a warm bond came over me. Not sure why, but I suddenly felt a connection with my Dad. Strange, a connection now, after he was gone.

What happened next was even more strange. I sat down on the walkway with his name next to me, over my right shoulder, and the shadow of the flag was waving where I was sitting.

I looked up at that beautiful, wonderful flag of freedom and then my Dad’s name and I cried. Yes, I cried. He would have been so proud to know, and feel, what I was feeling. And, maybe he did.

I’m not saying that everyone will feel what I felt, nor will they be moved to do this as I was, but for me, this was the last act of kindness I could do for my father.

The new stone will be dedicated on October 10 at 1:00 P.M and to learn more about the Sheboygan County Veteran’s Memorial visit scvmemorial.org.

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