(Beaver Dam) Hundreds of Wisconsin communities held Memorial Day ceremonies yesterday, to remember fallen military troops. In Beaver Dam, there were several hundred spectators at the Veterans Memorial at Oakwood Cemetery. Combined with the representatives of the various branches of the military, the Beaver Dam High School Band, St Katharine Drexel Band and others presenting during the ceremony, there were well over 300 people on the grounds. The program included an invocation, prayer, readings, a military flyover, raising and lowering of the flag, recognition of veterans lost over the past year and the playing of “Taps.”
The guest speaker was the first female Wisconsin American Legion State Adjutant. Amber Nikolai is a Naval veteran who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and previously served as the agency liaison for the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs Home at King. Nikolai shared a story about a conversation with her then-seven-year-old son Logan and asking him about the true meaning of Memorial Day?
“You know what he said to me?” she asked, “’Mom isn’t that the day the pool opens?’ And we laugh right? But my heart sunk when he said those words to me because I realized that even me as a veteran, I had not done my due diligence to impart upon my son the meaning of this significant day.”
Nikolai says she is hopeful the crowd would leave with a renewed sense of what the flag means.
“When we’re at funerals of fallen servicemen and women, it is this flag that is folded and given to the families,” she says.