in the stars

Veterans Memorial is now first-in-nation Gold Star Memorial
Story by Verla Peichl
Review Correspondent


Review photos byEmmitt B. Feldner Review photos byEmmitt B. Feldner SHEBOYGAN - The Sheboygan County Veterans Memorial was flooded with grateful memories and proud hearts this past weekend.

This was a special time because the gathering of veterans, dignitaries, survivors, families and thankful people were on hand to dedicate a Gold Star Memorial marker to be placed in a garden which is sponsored by the National Ivy League Garden Clubs Inc.

The dedication service began with an invocation from Rev. Bryan Osladil of Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Sheboygan. Ed Schroeder led the assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance and Rachel Peichl-McGee sang the National Anthem.

It was an emotional time when the families of approximately 50 veterans received certificates and a DVD of the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight. These families were recognized on behalf of their loved ones who served and, in some cases, died in the military.

Joe Dean - senior advisor to Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin, and one of the founders and coordinators for the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight - stated that this was a special day for all to remember those who gave their all.

“At a moment like this it’s not enough to just say thank you,” said Dean, “but this time of reflection is very meaningful for all of us. So from the bottom of my heart and on behalf of Sen. Ron Johnson we want you to know how grateful we are for all of you.”

State Rep. Terry Katsma, R-Oostburg, stated, “This is a sacred place. I was a kid when the Vietnam War was on and now in this time of my life I am proud to see my father-in-laws name on the Korean War stone. It is meaningful and important to have this visual reminder of those who served and those who have been lost.”

Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Glenbeulah, stated, “This is an important time to reflect on the huge number of people in Sheboygan County who paid for freedom with their lives. We are in danger of losing our freedom as we know it. We have to reflect on these people so we can continue to enjoy what these men and women gave as they kept America free. Thank you and let’s not let them down.”

Chuck McCafferty, veteran and chairman WGCF-Blue Star/Gold Star Families Memorials, stated, “We are all millionaires - because of our heroes we have a free country. Our heroes are the fallen, not us that survived.”

Andrea Little, Blue Star/Gold Star chairman for the National Garden Clubs Inc., stated, “This is a beautiful, wonderful memorial park. This will always help the families of those who served us and defended the United States of America to remember that freedom is not free and we will never forget our loved ones and those lost are all heroes. God Bless you. God Bless all our heroes and God Bless the United States of America.”

Linda McCafferty works with the Blue Star/Gold Star Families Memorials and is also a member of the American Legion Auxiliary. She brought a written script from Denise H. Rohan, Wisconsin’s candidate for National Commander of the The American Legion Auxiliary, that included these thoughts.

“The Bible tells us ‘Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.’ What amazing parents our fallen heroes must have had to instill that belief, that quality in their sons and daughters.

“I cannot imagine the pain our Gold Star families have endured on behalf of our nation, but gardens like this will forever help us remember to tell our children and our children’s children about the men and women who died throughout our history to help preserve our way of life. It will also help us remember sacrifices of the families of our fallen heroes.


THE SHEBOYGAN COUNTY Veterans Memorial in Sheboygan’s Taylor Park was officially designated the nation’s first National Garden Club Gold Star Memorial in a ceremony Saturday afternoon. The ceremony also included the addition of more than 50 new names to the memorial, with family members of those honored receiving recognition. The marker was placed in its permanent location by SSG. Alex Feldner and Sgt. Peter Krusiec of the U.S. Army Reserves 377th Maintenance Group at the end of the ceremony (cover). THE SHEBOYGAN COUNTY Veterans Memorial in Sheboygan’s Taylor Park was officially designated the nation’s first National Garden Club Gold Star Memorial in a ceremony Saturday afternoon. The ceremony also included the addition of more than 50 new names to the memorial, with family members of those honored receiving recognition. The marker was placed in its permanent location by SSG. Alex Feldner and Sgt. Peter Krusiec of the U.S. Army Reserves 377th Maintenance Group at the end of the ceremony (cover). “Long after the battlefield guns have been silenced and the bombs stop exploding, the children of our fallen warriors will still be missing a parent. Spouses will be without their life partners. Parents will continue to grieve for their heroic sons and daughters that died way too early.

“We are proud of these families, who sacrificed so much. We need to be there for them as American citizens. Nothing can replace these sons and daughters, but we can offer the families shoulders to cry on and assurance that their loved one’s sacrifice will never be forgotten.

“It is their sacrifice that keeps America the world’s great hope for democracy, freedom and equality - and, God willing - peace, lasting peace, for the entire world.

“I want to thank the Ivy League Garden Club for such a beautiful setting where our Gold Star Families and all families can reflect and remember,” McCafferty concluded.

Thes Gold Star Memorial Marker is engraved with these words which should be thoughtfully reflected upon especially in these days of unrest and confusion: “A tribute to Gold Star families whose loved one paid the ultimate price defending the United States of America.”

The dedication ended with the VFW firing squad and Michael Kaalsbeeck playing Taps.


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