Congressman sparks Memorial Day|
|Congressman Sean Duffy stressed that “freedom isn’t free” in ceremonies honoring the nation’s fallen Monday on the Courthouse Square in Antigo.|
The Seventh District congressman was the guest speaker at a poignant Memorial Day tribute that included readings, music and a wreath-laying by Mayor Bill Brandt.
The ceremony capped a day of tributes and a parade in Antigo and was one of dozens held across the northwoods.
Antigo’s day opened with a water ceremony at the Hudson Street bridge to honor those who perished at sea, followed by the parade that stretched from Eastview Medical and Rehabilitation Center through downtown to the Veterans Memorial on the Courthouse Square.
Grand marshal was Stanley Koss, the oldest Marine in Langlade County. It was an appropriate choice, since the Timberwolves Detachment of the Marine Corps League were hosts for this year’s event. Commandant John Szigat was master of ceremonies.
At the memorial, Duffy spoke of the need for family involvement in the military, and said he was pleased to be in the company of so many veterans and their families. He recalled bringing his children to a Wausau cemetery to see the flags marking the graves, noting “I love that tradition. It reminds us that freedom had to be fought for. Somebody bought me that freedom. It isn’t free.”
For that sacrifice, “I say thank you,” he said.
The congressman also touched on recent problems with veterans health care services being investigated in Washington D.C., stressing that someone will be held accountable for the “disgraceful mismanagement.”
“You will never be forgotten,” Duffy assured.
The ceremony opened with the Pledge of Allegiance led by Eagle Scout Alex Thomae, with Rev. Don Engebretson performing the invocation and, at the service’s end, a benediction.
Mayor Bill Brandt laid a wreath on behalf of the city at the memorial, calling it an honor to recognize those who gave their lives in battle, and all veterans and their families.
Jim Benishek, assisted by his brother Tom, performed a poignant remembrance for Vietnam veterans, recreating the battlefield cross and placing dog tags in honor of the men who died in that conflict.
Middle School students Lydia Merritt and C’neysha Bussey read the Gold Star Mothers Poem and recited the Gettysburg Address.
The Antigo Middle School marching band performed the national anthem and the Marine Corps Hymn.
Tom Benishek hangs a set of dog tags on a battlefield cross in tribute to those killed in the Vietnam War at Antigo’s Memorial Day program Monday on the Courthouse Square.
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