40 et 8 says Antigo is best state city |
|The Langlade County Voiture 1204 honored Antigo as its Wisconsin City of the Year at its Promenade Tuesday evening.|
Chef de Gare Don Emley explained that the Voiture had entered the state cities competition with a report on the activities in the Antigo linked to veterans, prepared by Commissarie Intendant Steve Bradley.
It was a success, and Emley added that it will go to national competition, where metropolitan areas are in the running. There, he said, the chances of a victory are far more slim.
Bradley read the entry report before the plaque was presented to Mayor Bill Brandt, noting that the community “has a long tradition of honoring those who have served in the armed forces of the United States,” dating back to founder Francis Deleglise, a Civil War veteran.
“In World War I the 107 Trench Mortar Battery was formed in Antigo, trained here and fought in France,” Bradley said. “Upon their return, this community welcomed home their boys with a large parade and celebration. These young men began a tradition of veterans service organizations that has lasted almost a century.”
The 107 Trench Mortar Battery, WWI Barracks, American Legion Post No. 3, Langlade County Voiture 1204, 40 et 8, Disabled American Veterans Chapter 23, and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2653 were formed by returning WWI veterans with the American Legion, DAV, and VFW being named for three local WWI veterans killed in the war.
During World War II, a list of men and women in the armed services was painted on the side of a main street pharmacy to be seen by all, Bradley noted. The returning WWII veterans were welcomed into the American Legion, 40 et 8, DAV and VFW. Both the American Legion and VFW built new clubhouses to accommodate their memberships.
The tradition of honor and respect for the military services continued when Antigo served as home to a United States Air Force Radar Base during the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.
“With little housing on the base, the city of Antigo welcomed these new residents as part of our community,” Bradley said. “Many Air Force personnel joined in the community, became part of our veterans organizations, and became long time residents. Korean War and Vietnam War veterans also were welcomed into local veterans organizations. Many of these veterans hold command positions in these organizations now along with the veterans who fought in the war on terrorism.”
Today, a drive through the city shows respect for its military heritage, Bradley said. The city has placed large banners on functional light poles with the emblems of each branch of the military along with pictures of local veterans. It also supports parades marking special days for veterans. Antigo’s Memorial Day Parade, Fourth of July Parade, and Christmas Parade are lead through the community by Antigo veterans.
“Each year a local business also sponsors a welcome home picnic for all veterans and their families,” Bradley said. “This event is well attended and has become part of Antigo’s support for veterans.”
The tributes are not limited to parades, picnics and banners. Shortly after the Vietnam Memorial Wall was dedicated in Washington, D.C., local Vietnam veterans asked this community to support a local Vietnam Memorial on the Langlade County Court House grounds.
“The local support for this memorial with the 12 names of Antigo and Langlade County residents killed in the Vietnam War was tremendous,” Bradley said.
When the local National Guard unit was deployed to Iraq, the community filled the Middle School gymnasium in a show of support for them on their way to battle. The mayor held up a “We Honor Those Who Served” Flag and said it would be on display at the entry of City Hall. Upon their return from Iraq, the city welcomed the soldiers back home with the mayor and a delegation of local citizens greeting returning fighting men and women at the airport at Fort McCoy. When this group arrived at the Antigo city limits, a parade of vehicles guided them through town to the National Guard Armory. Antigo citizens lined the route with United States flags and cheers welcoming them home. The mayor and local commanders of veterans organizations spoke at this welcome home celebration.
In 2009 a local couple donated money for a Veterans Memorial to be located on the Langlade County Courthouse grounds with the stipulation that this memorial would be for all veterans and recognize a local resident, John H. Bradley, the corpsman raising the flag with five Marines on Iwo Jima during WWII. The Veterans Memorial is an impressive 18 foot by 10 foot of black granite in three connecting panels with the six emblems of the armed services etched on one side and a etching of the flag-raising on the other side. The Antigo Memorial Day Parade concludes with a program at the memorial.
Bradley also commended the Antigo Daily Journal for its support of veterans and veteran organizations.
“The city of Antigo has a long tradition of honoring those who have served in the armed forces of our United States,” he said.
From left, Langlade County Voiture 1204 Chef de Gare Don Emley, Cabane 1204 Presidente Marie Schuh, Mayor Bill Brandt and Commissarie Intendant Steve Bradley.
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