Memorial Day observances in took place at 9:15 a.m. at Taft Park, with Lewis E. Strite as emcee, who welcomed the crowd of 200 or so to the solemn ceremony. The American Flag was raised as NLHS graduate Tanner Mastaw sang the nations anthem. Eagle Scout Anthony Collins led the Pledge of Allegiance. Reverend Paul Franzmeier of Faith Christian Church offered a prayer and Mayor Henke welcomed the community.
Several times throughout the observance the high school band performed patriotic numbers.
Lewis Strite called roll of 26 area veterans that have gone on to the supreme commander since last year’s observance. For each name the bell of honor was rung. Below is an alphabetical list of names and where they are laid to rest:
• Carl L. Bellile, World War II, Navy, Union Cemetery Hortonville
• Michael D. Besaw, Vietnam, Army, Northport Ostrander Cemetery Mukwa.
• Lawrence J. Bricco, Vietnam, Army, Floral Hill Cemetery New London
• Donald F. Cashmore, Vietnam, Marine Corps, WI Veterans Memorial Cemetery King
• Ronald J. Comers, Peacetime, Army, Most Precious Blood Cemetery New London
• Robert W. Cupp, Korea, Navy, Emmanuel Lutheran Cemetery Lebanon
• Robert J. Fitzgerald, Korea, Army, Most Precious Blood Cemetery New London
• Eugene E. Fuhrmann, World War II, Navy, Zion Lutheran Readfield
• Marlin J. Gorges, World War II, Navy, St. John’s Cemetery Caledonia
• Glen R. Hidde, World War II, Army, Floral Hill Cemetery New London
• Alfred F. Hill, World War II, Army, Floral Hill Cemetery New London
• Richard Emil Huntley, Korea, Army, New Maple Creek Cemetery Maple Creek
• Richard P. Jaeger, World War II, Navy, Northport-Ostrander Cemetery Mukwa
• Larry J. Kamba, Peacetime, Navy, Zion Lutheran Cemetery Readfield
• Raymond G. Kloehn, World War II, Navy, Floral Hill Cemetery New London
• Cyril L. Kluever, World War II, Navy, Floral Hill Cemetery New London
• Norman K. Nelson, Vietnam, Navy, Cremated
• Clinton Platte, World War II, Army, Most Precious Blood Cemetery New London
• Lyle H. Prey, World War II, Army, Floral Hill Cemetery New London
• Donald Lee Procknow, Korea, Navy, Cremated
• Harold O.C. Rieckmann, World War II, Army Air Force, St. John’s Cemetery Caledonia
• Cornelius D. Van Handel, Peacetime, Air Force, Most Precious Blood Cemetery New London
• Lloyd G. Van Ornum, World War II, Army, Northport-Ostrander Cemetery Mukwa
• Lyle A. Williams, Peacetime, Army, Most Precious Blood Cemetery New London
• George R. Wochinski, World War II, Army, Most Precious Blood Cemetery New London
• David P. Wroblewski, World War II, Army, Most Precious Blood Cemetery New London
• Arleigh L. Zuege, World War II, Army, Floral Hill Cemetery New London
Gold Star families were recognized and the band played “Amazing Grace” during a time of meditation and prayer.
Keynote speaker Colonel Peter E. Seaholm of New London addressed the crowd. He accounted the history of Memorial Day. Proclaimed on May 5, 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, it was first observed May 30, 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.
Seaholm said that although the holiday has been coined as the first official weekend of summer for many, and for years had lost some of its meaning, that over the past ten years Memorial Day observances have acquired a deeper meaning and that is good.
“This day is about honoring those who have fallen… and is also about reconciliation. It is about putting our differences aside, as a nation, as individuals and taking a few moments to honor the women and men of our armed forces who went into harm’s way and did not return.”
“I believe Memorial Day is also for the families and friends who have lost someone who has served in the military,” Seaholm said. “For on this day we must remember them as well. Their hearts still ache for their loved one. They still have a void because of their loss that cannot be replaced in this lifetime.”
“Let us never forget that our nation and the very freedoms we have today are a result of the many who gave their lives for you and me. On this Memorial Day and from now forward, please never forget to honor them and the ones they left behind.”
The tradition of laying the wreath on the water was carried out by Scout Luke Pringel and Wyatt Ossman under the direction of American Legion Auxiliary Unit 263 member Russella Wochinski. American Legion, AMVETS and VFW Commanders placed wreaths at the Taft Park Memorial. Bugler Nathan Elliott played “Taps” after the honor guards salute and the band played “God Bless America.” A closing prayer ended the observance at Taft Park.