crowd watches while members of the joint firing squad fire their rifles
in honor of those who died while serving their country. The rifle salute
was done during the Waukesha Allied Veterans Councilís Memorial Day
program held Monday in Cutler Park.
As he sat at the corner of West Main Street and East Avenue watching the
Memorial Day parade Monday, 8-year-old Michael Lufter wore a camouflage
shirt and a very personal artifact.
Lufter wore the cap worn by his great-grandfather, Kurt Lufter, who
served in the Army in World War I and was a pioneer commander of the local
Veterans of Foreign Wars post. The younger Lufter said it felt
"good" to wear the cap and he was only too happy to do it.
His father, Richard, said it was his sonís way of honoring his
grandfather. But he said also saw more pride evident among the parade
watchers, which he said appeared to number more than in years past.
"Being more people, there is more meaning to it," he said.
"Itís sad it had to take another war to bring out more people."
Julene Jaeckel, of Waukesha, said patriotism was the emotion of the
day as more parade viewers carried flags or wore the red, white and blue,
making the day more meaningful for all.
Jay Woodard, also of Waukesha, said watching the three high school
marching bands added a lot to the Memorial Day experience.
"The North High School marching band was awesome," said
better," replied Dan Riesing.
V. Deloria Sr. holds photographs of his father, brother and himself, all
veterans, as well as a newspaper clipping about Marine Sgt. Kirk
Straseskie, during the Waukesha Allied Veterans Councilís Memorial Day
program. Straseskie was the first Wisconsin resident to die in Iraq.
Deloria, who served as a Marine, carried the clipping during the parade
and said Straseskie deserved to be remembered during the dayís events.
The annual Memorial Day program at Cutler Park drew a healthy
contingent of families and veterans, as well as re-enactors depicting Union
soldiers of the Civil War. They gathered to remember their fallen comrades
and others they never knew, but whose gifts are enjoyed today by all
"No words can adequately describe the valor of the men and
women we honor today," said Brig. Gen. Andrew Schuster of the Army
Reserve, the guest speaker at the program. "Thanks to Americaís noble
soldiers, freedom endures."
Those soldiers include Marine Sgt. Kirk Straseskie, the Beaver Dam man
who drowned while trying to rescue his comrades in a helicopter crash in
Iraq last week. The 23-year-old will be buried Wednesday.
Those soldiers also include Slinger Marine Jason Whittling, 27, who
was paralyzed in a car crash while en route to Kuwait. They are joined by
Army Pfc. Danny Roberts, of Green Bay, who is receiving care in a veteransí
hospital after stepping on a land mine, Schuster said.
Joseph V. Deloria, of Waukesha, carried a picture of Straseskie with
him, to celebrate his sacrifice and remember the service of his father,
Ralph, in Korea; his brother, William, in Vietnam; and his own service in
"He deserved to be here today," Deloria said of
John Margowski, Waukesha County veterans services director, said
more than 200 county veterans have died since Memorial Day 2002, including
one each from World War I and the first Gulf War, 156 from World War II, 32
from Korea, 23 from Vietnam and 17 peacetime veterans.
Larry Kotke, of Waukesha, participated in the parade with members of
his Chapter 425 of the Vietnam Veterans of America. He said the program was
"excellent," as usual. He said turnout has increased since the
Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Museum hopes to keep
WAUKESHA - A group in Waukesha wants to be sure the Cold Warís
silent soldiers are not forgotten.
At Hillcrest Park, members of the Cold War Museum - Midwest
Chapter held a picnic Monday on the former Nike missile silo site which
was active during the 1960s and early 1970s. The group is negotiating
with Waukesha to open a permanent museum at the site, but the next step
is getting an inspection of the facility, said Chairman Chris Sturdevant.
Buildings on the site remain standing, and need to be preserved
lest their lessons be lost to history, said Cold War Museum chapter Executive Director Werner Juretzko. He
said sites like Hillcrest Park have as much to teach about U.S. history
as places like Bunker Hill and Gettysburg.
"People have to keep in mind that
on the bottom of the Atlantic Coast there were Russian Soviet subs with
missiles that had targets written on them for places like Chicago and
Kansas," Juretzko said. "It was more serious than they actually
thought at that time. One of the defenses from those attacks was right
here. It would be a shame to see someone turn it into an apartment."
New Berlin resident David Brouchoud was stationed at the site from
1967 to 1970, and said he "absolutely" hopes the city makes it
a museum. He is a collector of military artifacts from 1944 through 1980 and
a museum would be a perfect place to display them and keep that history
alive, he said.
"Some of the other guys and I used to go to schools and give
talks. The sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders always had the best
questions," he said. "They couldnít believe we had missiles
capable of carrying nuclear warheads right here in Waukesha. What they
donít know and what is not taught in schools will knock your socks
Brian Huber can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.