Veterans throughout Dale, Medina and Readfield attended a special evening just for them at the Dale Town Hall Nov. 2. Dale Historical Society members hosted the event.
"It was hard to find the veterans in the area," said Cordell Schroeder, a historical society member. "There is no record of living veterans anywhere. If I missed some Veterans, I hope they will contact me so I can include them in our list."
Call Schroeder at 920-779-6995.
Many of the veterans were happy to see each other as they shared news and pats on the back before the program began.
Bill Schroeder welcomed the veterans, and Cordell introduced Cindy Klein, who sang "God Bless America" to the audience of nearly 75 that included veterans, friends and family.
Todd Ward, president of the Dale Historical Society introduced himself next, and noted that historical photo groupings throughout the Dale Town Hall were prepared by the society. He also encouraged anyone from the Dale, Medina and Readfield area to donate their local historic items to the society. This includes family histories and businesses.
Their effort is ongoing, as they compile an archive of the area for future generations. While there is no specific place to display the entire collection at this time, it is a goal of the society to have such a place.
Tony and Lorraine Van Kampen of New London were the guest speakers of the evening. They are spokespersons for the Old Glory Honor Flight out of Appleton. The flight takes World War II (WWII) veterans to Washington D.C. to visit the WWII Memorial, as well as other monuments throughout the capital city.
The Van Kampens are urgently seeking WWII Veterans to experience this great day. "We have a list of over 300 guardians [who want to help the Veterans on the trip], but we need to find more Veterans," said Lorraine.
Veterans do not pay for their trip, and are in for a day of excitement and camaraderie, plus a few surprises along the way. Medical professionals accompany the group, including a doctor, emergency responders and nurses.
The next Honor Flight takes off from Outagamie Airport in April of 2012. Anyone who knows a WWII Vet, no matter how old, no matter if they use a wheelchair or walker is urged to contact the Honor Flight team. Call 888-635-9838, write to Old Glory Honor Flight, 4650 W. Spencer Street, Appleton, WI 54914 or email Contact@OldGloryHonorFlight.org.
Other Veterans who served our country in wartime and have a terminal situation are urged to contact the Honor Flight team as well, to take the trip to Washington D.C. and see their memorial.
Lorraine Van Kampen said that ‘16 million men and women served in WW II. If not for their sacrifice, we may not enjoy the freedoms we have today. Four hundred thousand lost their lives. We owe them a great debt of gratitude.’
A few veterans who had experienced a day with the Honor Flight expressed their thankfulness for being included. They had waited 68 years to see a memorial. LaVerne Herzfeldt said, "You didn’t have to wait for ‘nothin’. What amazed me most was the personal welcome we got from Civil War actors and school children. One little girl leaned on my knees and said I was a bigger hero than that big eagle on my cap." Herzfeldt also said he never shook hands with so many people in his life.
After the Honor Flight presentation, a reading of the "Old Ragged Flag" was read by Bill Schroeder, as WWII vet Frank Roesler sat on a bench next to the flag, a scenario of what the poem described.
A photograph of all the Veterans was taken for the Dale Historical Society, another piece of history to add to their collection.
A social hour with refreshments was again enjoyed by the Veterans, exchanging memories and reconnecting.
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