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La Crosse Central observes Memorial Day for the 101st time



For the one-hundred-and-first year, La Crosse Central High School has observed Memorial Day in the U.S.

Central’s outdoor ceremony to recognize service members traditionally happens outdoors on the Friday before Memorial Day, and warm and sunny weather again prevailed for the 2023 event.

La Crosse school superintendent Aaron Engel, who serves as a lieutenant colonel in the Army National Guard, was the main speaker at this year’s program.

La Crosse school superintendent Aaron Engel, who’s also active in the Army National Guard, spoke at Central’s Memorial Day program on Friday

“You too can sacrifice for others, and put the sacrifices of others to good use,” said Engel, after describing sacrifices made by members of the military. The superintendent recommended service “to yourself, your community, and your country.”

“You can be a part of something bigger,” he told the audience of students, joined by many local veterans. “You can sacrifice your time and effort to listen to a friend’s troubles, and help them seek help. There’s a purpose in helping your family, when you wash the dishes, and watch a younger sibling when your parent can’t be there.”

The Central program is believed to be the oldest continuous Memorial Day observance by a U.S. high school, dating back to the 1920’s. Friday’s event also included a presentation of colors, and a wreath-laying ceremony near the school’s front entrance on Losey Boulevard.

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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