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Observances of Memorial Day in La Crosse are back in place

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Memorial Day in La Crosse is back to its normal traditions, two years after COVID-19 caused cancellations through the summer. 

The holiday parade through the city Monday morning began downtown and ended at Oak Grove Cemetery. Later in the morning, a ceremony at Riverside Park recognized veterans of many service branches during a bandshell event.    

Veteran Pat Houlihan from the VFW noted that unlike other countries, the U.S. has not had to fight a war on its own soil since the 19th century.

“The United States has been blessed, as opposed to Iraq, or I suppose Ukraine, which has suffered great damage, and loss of lives,” said Houlihan.    

The riverfront is being affected by high water and construction of a boat landing, so a traditional wreath-laying ceremony along the river was changed to a flag-folding ritual. 

UW-L and Viterbo military science professor Erik Archer was the keynote speaker at Riverside Park, talking about the heroism of serving your country.

“That type of heroism is more remarkable” than what you see in the movies, or hear about legendary war heroes, says Archer. “That valor, that sacrifice, that heroism is found by choice, by that person. It’s chosen, not given.”    

The park program also featured veterans of other service branches.          

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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