Clintonville honors veterans


Grace Kirchner Leader Correspondent

Photo by Grace Kirchner Lt. Col. Christina Flanagan speaks at Clintonville’s Veterans Day ceremony Saturday.

Honoring our veterans on Veterans Day is a wonderful thing. But showing respect for their sacrifices by patronizing their businesses is a good way to honor veterans year-round, Lt. Col. Christina Flanagan told the crowd at Clintonville’s Veterans Day ceremony on Saturday.

“There are 420,000 veterans in the state of Wisconsin, with many of them in vet-owned businesses,” said Flanagan, who served 29 years in the U.S. Army. “We have our freedom because of their sacrifice, and we should respect our veterans.”

Flanagan added that many Americans don’t know what Veterans Day is. It originated as Armistice Day on Nov. 11, 1919 – the first anniversary marking the end of World War I. It became a national holiday in 1938. President Eisenhower signed legislation in 1954 to change the name to Veterans Day as a way to honor Americans who served in all wars, of which there are 18.5 million, Flanagan said. She encouraged the crowd to remember the words of Gen. Douglas MacArthur: “Duty, honor and country. Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be.”

During her military career, Flanagan – who grew up in Connecticut – served in command and staff positions around the world, including Europe, South Korea, Canada and Iraq. She now lives in Clintonville with her husband, who served more than 10 years as an infantry officer in Germany and the United States and is originally from Bonduel.

Another way to support veterans is through donations. Alderman Charles Manske, chairman of the Veterans Memorial Committee, called for donations to expand the Memorial Wall. All 800 spaces are filled on the wall, and the addition of two new walls is expected to cost about $50,000, Manske said. Any dollar amount will be accepted; however, Manske said donations of $150 or more will be recognized with paver bricks.

Mayor Lois Bressette welcomed the audience to Saturday’s ceremony, where master of ceremonies Richard Beggs noted that the smaller-than-usual crowd was likely due to the falling snow.

The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Dan Rindt, American Legion Post 63; Charles Vandenplas, representing disabled American veterans; and Mike Streicher, local VFW post commander.

Pastor Ben Hollingsead of Christus Lutheran Church led the invocation and the benediction. Taps was played by Joseph Shelton, and “The Star-Spangled Banner” was performed by Jim Poole. Following the ceremony, cookies and beverages were served in the Christ Congregational United Church of Christ.