A day to remember indeed
Saturday, August 2 was a day like any other day.It was an ordinary day for most.
For a couple of hours on a beautiful Saturday morning in August, life in Chilton was anything but ordinary.
Where the lawn of Klinker Park had stood idle and empty only a few short months ago, a new place of honor had been carved, shaped and now dedicated. As a community, Chilton donned its highest sense of patriotic and community pride to humbly honor those who have dedicated themselves to the service of our nation.
As Mayor Gerald Vanne himself said, it was so important a day, that the community would see the rarity of him donning a suitcoat.
Without question, Saturday was a red-letter day in Chilton.
With the ceremony to dedicate its new, breath-taking memorial to veterans of our military service, the community smiled collectively. Together, they knew that this was their way of saying the most important word that could ever be uttered to those who have served.
This was the collective outpouring of a humble and grateful, “Thank You.”
In its own quiet way, the simple “thank you” has now been converted into a roar that will greet the community as it goes about its every day business. Visitors who come to Chilton will know immediately how this community feels about its veterans and its nation.
It is almost impossible to relate the significance of those who spoke at the ceremonies. Emcee John Maino offers his incredible respect for veterans, having sought them out in endless community visits. Major General Daniel Ammermann represented the US Armed Services and presented a plaque to Chilton from the Jt. Chiefs of Staff calling to attention the community’s efforts.
Rich Appel, Chilton educator and retired US Army Lt. Colonel, stood as the representative of the community effort. His leadership and example spanned both side of the memorial symbolism. He has served his nation in wartime, and he has honored others who have served with his leadership in peacetime.
Many in the crowd fought back tears as numerous residents from Chilton Care Center - Veterans of World War II and the Korean Conflict were wheeled into the ceremonies escorted by members of the Appel’s former unit. Respect and admiration flooded the park upon their arrival.
Make no mistake, the dedication of this memorial was not a one-day event, or a one-time tribute. As designer Jim Suttner shared, Chilton has created a special place that is connected to the past, yet holds a place for future honor and remembrance. It will be a place, he said, where the community can come to honor, to remember, to learn, to reflect, to share stories and as a place for community to come together—and never forget.
This new veterans memorialwill not only be a symbol of those who gave to the service of this country. The memorial will stand for all time as a tribute to those who can come together to appreciate the service of others. This project, was, after all, the culmination of two years of diligent planning, work and fundraising. Fundraising will be ongoing.
You could hear and feel the heartbeat of a nation strongly in Chilton on this grand and glorious Saturday—an ordinary, yet amazing day in which a community offered something truly extraordinary for all generations to appreciate. What a way to say “thanks” to our veterans. Kudos to all who contributed in any way to this amazing project.
—Through the Viewfinder, by Mike Mathes, Tri-County News publisher, August 7, 2014