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There is a story for all occasions!
Most of us in the business of reporting on the happenings for a local news media have probably seen the entire spectrum of human emotions from family tragedies, emotional triumphs, heart warming, and tear-wrenching stories to the happenings at public meetings and the mundane daily things that we take for granted on a regular day-to-day basis.
But, from time to time events happen that have one person or a group extending their hand and voice to help or honor those who have earned the gratitude of their fellow citizens.
So it was last Friday. I attended the 19th annual Dunn County Flag Day Ceremony and New Brick Dedication at the Veterans Memorial site along Crescent Street just north of the Mabel Tainter Theatre in Downtown Menomonie.
The program featured several speakers relating about Flag Day and to honor those who have served their country in its time of need. The site is lined with paver bricks with about 750 of them inscribed with the name of a service person.
Jack Baus, the Menomonie Fire Chief acted as the MC for the event and introduced the several speakers and the Menomonie Veterans Honor Guard.
A great feature of the program was that the Ludington Guard Band performed several patriotic numbers to the crowd of more than a hundred people attending.
Eight veterans were honored with their names being enshrined at the site. They include: Brian L. Ahrens, David A. Billingsley, Marvin J. Hoff, David L. Klatt, Gary Klatt, Thomas Mangin, William P. McKanna, and Frank Salmeron.
I had to look on the Internet to find a few details about our service people and found out that over 16 million Americans served during World War II with 407,300 dead from all causes. The number of American deaths in World War I was 116,516. The Korean War killed some 54,246 Americans, while Vietnam claimed close to 60,000 Americans. A figure that I was surprised to learn was that 7,704 Americans are still unaccounted for from the Korean War. The German nation under Hitler lost about 4.3 million soldiers in World War II.
War is hell, but the number of Americans that died in WW II is only in second place to the number lost in the Civil War which claimed a half million Americans.
As of the first of this year, there are less than half a million World War II veterans still alive with about 370 of them passing away daily. The oldest Veteran from WWII was Richard Arvin Overton, who served in the army and passed away on December 27, 2018 at the age of 112, plus 230 days.
The last Civil War veteran to die was Albert Henry Woolson, born February 11, 1850 and died on August 2, 1956. Woolson, from Duluth, MN served as a drummer with the 1st Minnesota Heavy Artillery Regiment.
Thanks for reading! ~Carlton