COVID-19 may have altered Memorial Day and Veterans Park pavilion dedication ceremonies, but an observance and celebration is planned for both on July 5 at Veterans Park.
The observance begins at 8:30 a.m. with what Veterans Park Pavilion Volunteer Committee member Richard “Dick” Fry described as the Memorial Day itinerary that is traditionally held in Milton.
Serving as master of ceremonies, Milton City Administrator Al Hulick will introduce speaker Mayor Anissa Welch, along with City of Milton Director of Administrative Services Inga Cushman, who will read the names of soldiers listed on the Veterans Park Memorial monuments. The program will include an invocation given by Pastor Liz Green of the Milton Seventh Day Baptist Connecting Church.
The program further includes a 21-gun salute performed by the Edgerton VFW color guard. The Memorial Day observance at Veterans Park will conclude when Lexi Stesnay plays “Taps” at 9:15 a.m.
A dedication of the Veterans Park pavilion will begin immediately after the Memorial Day service, at which time the improvement will be officially given to the city of Milton.
Serving again as master of ceremonies, Hulick will introduce program speaker State Rep. Don Vruwink. Members of the Janesville Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution will be on hand to distribute flags, Fry said. During the ceremony, Fry, Jarrett Goodman and Mike Fredrick, all members of the Veterans Park Pavilion Volunteer Committee, will address those in attendance from the podium, Fry said.
The dedication ceremony will conclude at 10 a.m.
At 10:30 a.m., participants at Veterans Park are invited to drive to Milton Junction Cemetery where Phil Watson will read the names of veterans buried in the cemetery.
A plated lunch will be served at Veterans Park between 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. during which time guitar soloist Evan Pingel will perform, Fredrick said.
Fredrick’s Supper Club, Milton, will be preparing the lunch. The menu includes hamburgers, hot dogs, brats, chips, potato salad, baked beans, soda, water and beer. The meal costs $5 per plate, $2 for beer, and $1 for soda and water. Proceeds from the lunch will go to the American Legion Post 367, Fry said.
Those attending the Memorial Day observance and pavilion dedication ceremony will find a road closure on Hilltop Drive from High Street to Orchard Row. Picnic tables will be offered within the park. As a precaution against the spread of COVID-19, attendees are asked to practice physical distancing by staying at least six feet apart, limit seating up to six people per table, and wear a mask.
Thoughts about completion
“It’s been 7-1/2 years since I first attended a parks and recreation meeting and in those years we’ve created this. As happy as I am about this, I’m even happier I’m still married,” Fry said, noting that time and worry were part of the process.
“To me, it means a place where families and veterans can get together and share moments and memories of past and future. I want as many as possible to come and enjoy the park,” Fredrick said, He offered thanks to all who helped create the project.
Goodman said it was important to him that the names on the monuments are not forgotten, adding: “My goal was to help make that happen.”
He described an encounter with a military family which, he said, was for him, particularly touching: after Rebecca, a member of the Tracy family, lost her husband, Daniel Eggers, in Afghanistan, Goodman worked to have the soldier’s name added to the “Killed in Action” Milton monument. Afterward, Daniel’s father-in-law, John Tracy, gave Goodman a challenge coin bearing Daniel’s name.
“That really touched me,” Goodman said.
People visit the park and look at the names on monuments and pavers, “and it’s a history lesson,” he said.
Groundbreaking for the pavilion commenced in July of 2019. A drive-by reveal was held in May.