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Veterans Day, 2020

In honor of the upcoming Veterans Day this November 11th, I wanted to say a special “thank you” to all the veterans and their families in the 3rd Senate District! The issues impacting our service members have always been of great importance to me and it is an honor for me to once again serve as ranking member of the Senate Committee on Transportation, Veterans and Military Affairs.

In this special Veterans Day Eupdate, I would like to share some of the good news that has developed this year around the stories and service of our Americans in uniform!

Tomorrow the War Memorial Center will be holding a virtual ceremony to honor those who have served. More info.

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Photo Credit: Joe Koshollek, Legislative Photographer

As you are aware, Veterans Day is intended to honor and remember all those brave men and women who have served as members of our United States Armed Forces. Without such people and their willingness to serve and defend our country, there is no way we would have the same rights and freedoms that we enjoy today. Veterans Day is a day for all citizens to recognize those people still living and remember those we have lost. This year we celebrated the end of WWII with the 75th anniversary of VE-Day and VJ-Day!

It has been a privilege to speak with many constituents who have served our country in the armed forces over the years. Their bravery is a sobering reminder that the commitment of such men and women is why we enjoy the freedoms we do. Our commitment to them should extend beyond their time in the military and that is why we have holidays such as Veterans Day. They have served us and we are honor-bound to acknowledge their sacrifices. It is a privilege to do so as your State Senator.

This Session's Blue Book contains an excellent article, "A Hero's Welcome," detailing the history of our state during 1919, when the Legislature overcame political division in order to enact innovative veterans legislation following World War I. This story can serve as an inspiration for our state and nation today. As we struggle through political division, those who came before us provide an example of how we can find common values to make Wisconsin stronger.

Resources and News for Wisconsin Veterans

Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs eNewsletter

WDVA The Courier

Wisconsin Veterans Employment Resources

Wisconsin Veterans Benefits

Wisconsin Veteran Owned Business Certification and Resources

Veterans Crisis Line

Unveiling of New POW/MIA Memorial in State Capitol

A Chair of Honor has been newly placed in our State Capitol to commemorate those soldiers who have been captured or gone missing.

"Let this empty chair serve as a memorial to those who served in the military of our great nation, but have not returned home to us. Prisoners of War Missing in Action, Wisconsin and All Americans will forever be grateful for your bravery and sacrifice in service to our nation. We will never forget."

Watch press conference.
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Photo Credit: Joe Koshollek, Legislative Photographer

Red Arrow Soldier Receives Headstone after 76 Years

After 76 ears, a Red Arrow Soldier, Staff Sgt. Walter A. Schaller, who was killed in action during WWII was identified and recognized with a headstone at Holy Cross Cemetery.

Staff Sgt. Walter Schaller of Milwaukee enlisted in the Wisconsin National Guard in 1941. On January 2, 1944, the Red Arrow was on its way to their objective at Saidor, New Guinea when Schaller was killed instantly by stepping on a landmine. The soldier was buried in the jungle with other fallen comrades.

His body was brought back to Milwaukee in 1949 and he was buried in an unmarked grave at Holy Cross Cemetery.

Local historian Tom Mueller volunteered with the Milwaukee War Memorial Center's project to find photos and information about fallen service members to preserve their memory on its Honor Roll. Mueller worked to piece together the information about Schaller.

A dedication and service was held on September 10th.

Read more.

National Guard Meeting our State's Needs during COVID-19

I would like to thank the members of our Wisconsin National Guard for their tireless efforts over the past 8 months. 

Their specimen collection teams cumulative total tests reached over 800,000, and they continue supporting our local health agencies and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

In addition to these efforts, they have risen to the call to support our elections as poll workers when local governments were unable to recruit sufficient volunteers, responded to the civil unrest in Kenosha, and many other missions during the same period.

They have provided these services to our state out of their sense of duty, and have helped meet our state's needs with quiet dignity.

To the members of the Wisconsin National Guard:

Thank you for your service!

Read more.

Curator Conversations with the Wisconsin Veterans Museum

Tonight's Curator Conversation features the author of Make Way for Liberty, Jeffrey Kannel, for a conversation about Wisconsin African Americans in the Civil War.

Follow the history tonight from 7pm-8pm.

Register here.

Save the Soldiers Home Project

The Milwaukee Preservation Alliance is working to restore the Milwaukee Soldiers Home District and return it to serviceable condition for the veterans as a part of the Save the Soldiers Home Project.

Great progress has been made on the restoration of the Milwaukee Soldiers Home for veteran’s housing on the grounds of the Zablocki Veterans Affairs Medical Center. This building was built in 1869 to serve Civil War veterans but had remained unused after 1989. The building is being extensively restored and promises to provide veterans a beautiful housing option on the VA grounds near the grave of my grandfather, who served in World War I.

Another piece of the Save the Soldiers Home Project, is the restoration of the Soldiers Home Chapel.

Built in 1889 by Milwaukee architect Henry C. Koch, the Soldiers Home Chapel remained in use until 1996. Since then it has been vacant, with religious services held in the Main Hospital Chapel.

Sneak peak inside the Chapel.
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Photo Credit: Milwaukee Preservation Alliance

Wisconsin Veterans Museum Talking Spirits Tour

Join the Wisconsin Veterans Museum for a virtual tour of Madison's Forest Hill Cemetery and learn about the history of Wisconsin and its veterans. 

Take the tour.