A standing-room-only crowd showed its appreciation at the annual Veterans Day Commemorative Celebration on Saturday at the Civil War Museum.
The event, organized by Navy Club Ship 40, was attended by numerous military veterans including World War II veterans Harold Huissen, Robert Dretske, George Cridland and Jim Eils. The celebration concluded with a performance by the Brass Ambassadors of the Navy Band Great Lakes.
Dick Stader, senior executive officer of Navy Club Ship 40, delivered the opening statements and offered a brief history of Veterans Day between service anthems and other songs of patriotism. Veterans Day began as Armistice Day, which marked the end of World War I. It was renamed in 1954 to celebrate the service of all U.S. military veterans.
“This means a lot to us,” said Stader, a 20-year U.S. Navy veteran. “We didn’t celebrate Veterans Day while we were in the military. Veterans Day is a very proud day for me and all other veterans.”
For the second straight year, the event took place indoors in the cozy confines of the Civil War Museum. Ceremonies were previously held at Navy Park, where attendees frequently shivered through the program while overlooking the Kenosha Harbor.
The decision to move the event indoors appears to be a popular one.
“It’s a wonderful honor to be able to do this for the community,” said Dan Joyce, director of the Kenosha Public Museums. “Honoring our veterans is something we need to do every day. This is a special time for us to come together and do that.”
Attendees visited the museum’s “Veterans Memorial Gallery,” a permanent exhibit featuring statues of soldiers from the Revolutionary War to present-day military. The soldiers are “conversing” with one another around an illuminated campfire in a show of camaraderie and brotherhood.
“In that gallery, you’ll see Vietnam soldiers standing around the fire talking to somebody from a totally different war,” Joyce said. “It shows the commonality of the experience. That’s what we’re celebrating. We’re celebrating the sacrifices of all of our veterans.”
Kenosha County will soon have a place of its own to honor veterans, according to Ali Nelson, Kenosha County Division Director of Veterans Services.
The park on Highway KD in western Kenosha County will officially be renamed Kenosha County Veterans Memorial Park. The current Kenosha County budget includes $150,000 to launch the project, which will include an ad hoc committee. The park includes a lake, hiking trails and prairies.
“All of the veterans of Kenosha County came out in full force for this,” Nelson said. “It went through without opposition.”
PHOTOS: Tall ships in the Kenosha harbor
Tall ships return to the Kenosha harbor this week as part of the Tall Ships Challenge Aug. 2-4.
Vessels will arrive in a “Parade of Sail” on the afternoon of Aug. 1, led by Kenosha’s own tall ship – the schooner Red Witch. The Parade of Sail is free to view. People may view the Parade of Sail along the lakefront from Pennoyer Park, south to Eichelman Park.
Here are some photos of the tall ships previous trips to the Kenosha area.