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Central High observes Memorial Day for the 99th time



Next year will make it a full century. 

La Crosse Central continues its tradition of a student ceremony to observe Memorial Day, with a Friday morning event. 

Jeff Axness, just promoted to become Central’s new principal this summer, led the 2021 service from the high school auditorium.    

For the second straight year, the Memorial Day service was live-streamed, partly because of COVID and partly due to cool rainy weather.  Normally, veterans and other spectators would gather outdoors at the front steps of Central for the ceremony.     

Central graduate Aliyah Richling, class of 2007, was the featured speaker. 

She serves in the Air Force at Offutt AFB near Omaha, and she urged current students to be authentic, be resilient, and find support.

“Find your wingmen, or your wing people,” Richling said. “These are the people who will walk with you through the best times, and the darkest times in your life.”

Richling sings with the Air Force “Heartland of America” band, and says they can perform Glenn Miller music one minute and Led Zeppelin the next.      

She recalled singing with the Central robed choir at the 2007 Memorial Day service, and says she never would have expected to return 14 years later in an Air Force uniform.


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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