Sincere thanks are extended to representatives with the DeForest Veterans Memorial Foundation (DVMF) and local American Legion and VFW posts for all of their labor in once again offering an exceptional Memorial Day ceremony this week at Veterans Memorial Park.

Around 300 locals turned out for the event as a way to pay their respects to military members who paid the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.

“It is very rewarding to stand before you, look out across the crowd, and see how many of my fellow American citizens truly understand the meaning of Memorial Day and attend our ceremonies year after year,” said Jeff Unger, president of the DVMF and a longtime veterans advocate.

The theme Monday was to specifically note the 58,000 souls who perished in the Vietnam conflict as 2015 marks 40 years since that war's conclusion. Unger also asked the crowd to recognize Vietnam veterans in attendance Monday by having each one stand.

Among them was retired Brigadier Gen. Kerry Denson, a Wisconsin resident with 40 years of military service, including two combat tours in Vietnam as a pilot who was at once shot down. Denson was the ceremony's keynote speaker and told of he and his family's dedication to the U.S. military and the continued plight and evolving challenges that all who serve face today.

Also taking part in the ceremony Monday was Dave Kies. While serving with the Army in Vietnam, Kies was recovering booby traps and mines in January 1967 when an explosion took one of his legs, annihilated the other, and killed his partner, Eric Zollner.

“Dave stands before you alive and well,” Unger explained, “with his name mistakenly etched into the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, one row above and to the right of his fallen comrade.”

The liberties and luxuries we enjoy were made possible by the thousands like Denson and Kies who are among us and those who have sadly passed. Appreciate and remember these dedicated few whenever possible.

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