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Vets gather for Riverside Park Memorial Day ceremony



This week marks 150 years since the holiday we now call Memorial Day was established in the U.S.

A few dozen people, veterans among them, were gathered for the ceremony at Riverside Park.

The keynote speaker was retired Army Colonel Steven Nott, a past commander from Fort McCoy. He told the audience Americans should not deny that the nation has enemies and there will be future wars.

“Evil is real,” Nott said. “There are, and always will be, forces who despise our freedoms and want to, not only destroy our way of life, but truly desire each one of us dead or enslaved.”

Nott also reminded the audience that more lives will be given in the future.

“This I know is an absolute certainty, the war we now wage against terrorists will not be the last time our citizens must raise our collective hands and say, ‘I will serve.'” he said.

Veteran John Parkyn wanted the audience to think about soldiers stationed in a current trouble spot.

“Keep in your thoughts the 30,000 members of the American military that are on duty in South Korea this week,” Parkyn said. “It will most certainly be a challenging time for all of them.”

Other speakers at the park bandshell represented veterans from recent wars, as well as women serving in auxiliary groups.

Members of all the U.S military branches received recognition during the city-wide service.

The program included poems urging Americans to visit the graves of soldiers killed in war and to honor the U.S. flag.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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