The American Legion Post 67 held Memorial Day Services Monday at the Lake Mills Middle School.
The program began with the Lake Mills High School Band playing “America the Beautiful” and the Call to Colors was played by Adam Mitchell.
The Presentation of Colors was led by American Legion Sergeant-at-Arms John Wineke.
Pastor Edwin Vargas of the Lake Mills United Methodist Church gave the Invocation.
He said his father was a veteran, “It wasn’t until his passing that I learned he was a veteran. It makes me think of the unspeakable, sometimes unbearable things our veterans have to carry with them their whole life. Thank you for your service.”
Jamie Zins, American Legion Post 67 commander said,
“On Memorial Day we come together in our communities, cities and towns to place flowers and flags on the graves of those who have given the last full measure of devotion to our country.”
Ron Zambriski recognized a young soldier who recently returned home from deployment.
Memorial Day speaker Sarah Weihert, managing editor Lake Mills Leader, discussed the Hometown News publication “We Shall Not Forget” and called on veterans to be a part of the special section profiling veterans in Lake Mills and surrounding communities.
“I had just come to this job last August when I found out I had to write six profiles on local veterans in less than a month. It was a big task, so I set out to find as many names as I could of veterans around town to talk to,” she said.
Weihert discussed some of the veterans she talked to for last years magazine, “I had the privilege of speaking to World War II veteran Harry Luetzow in his home last fall. He told me about his experiences in the Navy on a dock landing ship in the Pacific. Early on in his deployment he saw soldiers covered in bloody sheets taken on shore to be buried. They paid the ultimate sacrifice. Luetzow spent over two years on the ship and said he gave some of the best years of his life to the government.”
She mentioned Donald Clark, who was on the front line in the Korean War.
“He enlisted in 1949 and was a BAR man doing gorilla fighting. He was injured, had shrapnel in his left arm and the left side of his face and also suffered hearing loss. He earned a purple heart.”
Chief Master Sergeant retired James Schmeisser really impressed Weihert with his 40 years of service to the Wisconsin Air National Guard.
“He worked on various construction projects while deployed and went to Iraq in 2004 during Operation Iraqi Freedom. His final assignment was as interim command chief for the 115th Fighter Wing. He was inducted into the Wisconsin Air Guard Hall of Fame last year.”
Donnette “Curly” Schroeder shared the difficulty of living with PTSD with Weihert.
“We’ve learned so much from these great local men and women who gave years of their lives to fight for our freedom,” she said of the veterans.
Weihert shared the story of her own grandfather Harvey Williams, who served in the Air Force during the Korean War.
“Memorial Day is about the honoring the 1.3 million Americans who have paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving in the armed forces. I don’t personally know anyone who has been lost during war, but by writing about your experiences I hope to honor those who we’ve lost and those who have come home. If you feel compelled to share your story in our next ‘We Shall Not Forget’ publication, please feel free to contact me at my office.”
The Gettysburg Address was read by Gavin Lira, followed by the American Legion Ritual.
“In Flanders Fields” was sang by Tony Wollin, Ellie Laws, Adam Mitchell, Sophia Thompson, Ester Pope and Ashli Patrick.
America Answers was delivered by Ester Pope.
Bea Rothschadl of the American Legion Auxiliary placed the wreath.
“This year we lost Mildred Imrie our last Gold Star Mother, her son John was killed in Vietnam. We are here to honor those killed in war. It’s so wonderful the see everyone here today.”
The program was followed by a parade to Rock Lake Cemetery.