(Written for Memorial Day but a sign in problem delayed posting.)
Today is Memorial Day, a day we set aside to remember those who paid the ultimate price serving our country. The holiday often just becomes a day to grill out or get that garden planted, but it's original purpose was to be a day of mourning. It is very easy to forget just how many Americans gave their lives in the service of our country over the years and still put their lives on the line today. But if you have ever visited a National Cemetery or Military Park, the evidence of their sacrifice is sobering.
On a trip to Chattanooga, Tennessee last fall, my husband and I visited several Civil War Military Parks and a National Cemetery. At the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Parks we read the accounts of the battles and the numbers of casualties. I must confess, it was difficult to grasp the size and scope of the attacks and the numbers of dead and wounded. The Civil War still remains the most bloody and costly in terms of lives lost in U.S. history. Nearly 620,000 Americans died in the Civil War--more than all other wars from the Revolution through Vietnam combined.
What struck me about the Chickamauga Military Park (just south of Chattanooga, TN, in Georgia) was the spirit of forgive and forget that accompanied the creation of the park.
Just 24 years after the end of the Civil War, veterans from opposing sides of the Battle of Chickamauga held a reunion. They called it the Blue and the Gray Barbecue. Where "hundreds of soldiers and their families visited the sites of the bloody battle...smoking the pipe of peace, healing the wounds, and helping start the Chickamauga National Park, known as the Chickamauga Battlefield." The park was established the following year in 1890 to preserve and commemorate the battlefields and was the first and largest in the U.S.
There are 1,400 monuments and historical markers of granite and bronze in the park--nearly all quite impressive in their artistry. The Kentucky monument was not only beautiful to look at, but also in its sentiment. It reads: "Erected by the State of Kentucky in memory of her sons who fought and fell on this field. 'As we are united in life, and they united in death, let one monument perpetuate their deeds, and one people, forgetful of all asperities [harshness or severity], forever hold in grateful remembrance all the glories of that terrible conflict which made all men free and retained every star on the nation's flag.' " (Kentucky was a border state and had both Confederate and Union soldiers in the war.)
Kentucky Governor Bradley's monument dedication speech in 1899 continued that spirit of forgive and forget: (My emphasis)“Kentucky has evinced [clearly shown] no partiality in the evidence of loving remembrance. It carries with it no heart burning, no jealousy, no invidious [offensive] distinction. It is not an emblem of honor to the victor and and reproach to the vanquished, but an equal tribute to the worth of all. In future, the descendants of chivalrous Confederates may proudly gaze upon it, realizing that the state has honored their ancestors, and although their cause was lost, their heroism is revered and their memories perpetuated. And the sons of the brave men who fought on the other side may look upon it with equal pride, feeling that it fitly commemorates the gallant deeds of their illustrious ancestors , who preserved the Nation from destruction. May it endure forever, standing guard over victor and vanquished, with the statue that surmounts it, in one hand holding the torch of liberty shedding abroad its benign rays, in the other grasping the people, ready and anxious at all times to uphold the integrity of one country, and to drive, wounded and bleeding, from its shores any insolent foe that shall ever dare invade them.”
Take a step back into American history this weekend, at Reclaiming Our Heritage , the 9th Annual Living History and Veteran Tribute Event, at the VA Medical Center grounds in Milwaukee.
What makes this event different from most Civil War encampments is that you will see reenactor soldiers and camps from military groups dating from our nation's founding, such as the 1771 Colonial Alliance, to the Civil War, Spanish American War, WWI, WWII, Korean War, Vietnam War, to today.
In 1958, three $500 scholarships were awarded to Brookfield High School students by a volunteer group of parent and community members. It has since grown into a community wide scholarship program made possible through the generosity of honorary/memorial funds, community groups, businesses and school PTOs. Having the EEF administer the program helps ensure that the greatest number of seniors can be honored by our community each year. The EEF takes great care to select recipients that meet the criteria provided by scholarship sponsors. Nearly $1,000,000 in scholarships has been awarded to our graduating seniors through the Elmbrook Education Foundation.
Last month, 22 students from Brookfield Central and Brookfield East received a $1500 scholarship during their respective Senior Honors Celebrations. The Foundation also helped identify candidates for 3 four year scholarships administered by the Ramiah Family. All scholarship students exhibit educational excellence, leadership, and service to their school and community. On behalf of the Elmbrook Education Foundation, congratulations to this year’s scholarship recipients and best of luck to the Class of 2010!
Sponsored Scholarship Awards
On Thursday, May 27 at 7:50 am Flag Ceremony St. John Vianney School received a highest honor Green School Award from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Mayor Steve Ponto presented the award to the school. A representatives from the Girl Scouts of Southeastern Wisconsin was also present.
The award culminates and recognizes the efforts of members of the 8th grade Girl Scout Troop #2375 who worked throughout the year to have our school designated a green school through efforts such as labeling waste and recycle containers, educating students and staff on what can be recycled, which bin to recycle in the classrooms and in the hall, and what happens to materials that are recycled. When the Girl Scouts completed the initial paperwork to have our school designated by WI DNR as a Green School, they focused specifically on the initiatives for indoor air quality and school building and grounds. When they met to complete the final award application for Green School designation, they realized that the school had also accomplished and addressed other initiatives such as Integrated Pest Management, Chemical Management, Transportation and Community Involvement so they filled in the steps the school had recently taken to address these issues as well. They wanted to share their pride that SJV school administrators, parents, teachers and community recognized the benefit to the environment in the steps they had taken to improve the school and how students were learning about these critical steps to save energy in the curriculum. Little did the Girl Scouts know that these extra efforts pushed them ahead to receive “Reaching Higher Status”, the highest award given by the DNR for Green Schools (only two other schools in the state have earned this award). The Scouts are now preparing the final report to receive the Girl Scout Silver Award. They hope to complete this award appl
ication after their graduation from St. John Vianney School on June 4.
The 8th grade Girl Scouts who worked on this project are Danielle K. (leader) and her team: Allison U, Erica W, Mikala F and Molly S from Troop #2375. A huge thank you goes to the parish administration for choosing to be more energy efficient when remodeling in recent years, the maintenance staff for assisting in the correct handling of recyclables and waste, and the students/teachers/staff/parents of the school community for using the receptacles correctly!
As a community, we earned this award!! Congratulations!
I just wanted to take a few minutes to talk about a few softball players I cover who I really enjoy watching.
There is no one I have seen who plays harder than Wauwatosa West senior 3B Katy Schmutzer. Her making honorable mention All-Conference shows that there must be some really great players in the Woodland Conference.
A 33,145-square-foot office building at 165 Bishops Way, Brookfield, has been sold for $1.63 million to 3MG Future Investments LLC, a local investment group.
Joe Lak and Mike Wanezek, of Inland Cos., brokered the deal.
Bill Cords, the former longtime athletic director at Marquette University, is the new athletic director at Brookfield Academy.
Cords, who is 68, was athletic director at Marquette from July 1987 to Dec. 31, 2006. In an interview Monday, Cords said he became intrigued by Brookfield Academy because he lives nearby, noticed the impressive growth of the school and heard good things about the school's academic program.
Rarely a week goes by without someone asking the inevitable question…”How can you work at a shelter?...How sad...I could never do that.”
Well first of all, I would have to say I’m a pretty optimistic person and have always preferred in life to see a glass empty versus half filled. So when someone asks how I can work at a shelter, I’m confused! You see when I walk into work everyday and say hi to my co-workers, we often stop to share a brief funny about some antics our dog or cat did over the weekend or how we had to clean up yet another poop accident from our foster early in the morning, etc. We share stories that many around the water cooler at most businesses wouldn’t understand. We share animal stories, the trials and tribulations of fostering and the unpredictable life of living with usually several animals. Why?...Because we all share one common bond. Everyone who works here is not just a fan of animals, but is a HUGE animal lover!
Yesterday, 11 states held primaries for Governor and mid-term elections. For the most part, conservatives did well.
In Wisconsin, our primary is Sept. 14th, which is very late in the election season. But the Wisconsin GOP convention in May became a catalyst for thinning the herd for U.S. Senate from 4 to 2 candidates. At the convention, candidate Dick Leinenkugel only received .5% of the vote and so threw his support to Ron Johnson. Terrance Wall, who came in at 23% on the first ballot, withdrew from the race a few days later.
Wall told his supporters, "With a heavy heart, I am withdrawing my candidacy from the United States Senate race against Russ Feingold. I am so grateful for the support of Wisconsinites that are hungry for real fiscal conservatism and a change in their government.
No matter how much I want to stay in and fight, I feel the honorable thing to do is to exit...[If only Mark Neumann would do likewise!]
When I started this effort, I had two goals: first, to turn this country around before it's too late and second, to prove that Russ Feingold could be beat. ...I wish God's blessings on my two opponents, David Westlake and Ron Johnson."
Dave Westlake only received 15% of the vote, but has vowed to remain in the race because the vote represents "only a fraction of the voters in the state". [True]
Westlake said, "'If I stopped now, think about the tens of thousands of people who are Republicans, independents and Democrats who wouldn't have a voice anymore,' he added. 'I owe it to them, to all of Wisconsin to be the voice of the common guy.'" I do like Dave Westlake, his platform, and his Mr. Smith Goes to Washington persona, but because of his T-shirt fund-raising strategy, he has limited his viability.
There is also another 3rd party Constitution Party candidate, Rob Taylor*, who is being touted as the only one with experience by some conservatives. As I recently explained to a conservative friend (who was unaware of Johnson entering the race) I cannot support a 3rd party candidate in this election: 3rd party = Feingold reelected.
So who is Ron Johnson? Take a look. This video clip is from his Q&A after his announcement. When asked why he was running (at about 4:23 into clip) Johnson says,
"I'm not willing to give up hope.... This 234 year experiment we call America is just absolutely precious, and I'm watching that being squandered. So if I am fortunate enough to represent the people from Wisconsin, I would take a deep reverence for the genius for the founders of America, in terms of what they have given us in this country."
"There is a reason the U.S. that holds 5% of the world population, yet produces 25% of the worlds goods, that is really freedom. I think that kind of perspective, that kind of deep sense of how exceptional this country is, is a good perspective to take to Washington."
Johnson needs to get the word out that he is running and what his positions are on the issues. People are already in summer mode--more interested in vacations and picnics than politics. This bio video clip from Charlie Sykes will at least give you a glimpse into who Ron Johnson is as a person.
Unless something very unusual happens between now and the primary, Ron Johnson will be the Republican candidate. At the GOP Convention, Leinenkugel surprised everyone by withdrawing and supporting Johnson, "It is Ron Johnson's time, ...it is too critical, too important that at this time in our history, we unite against defeating Russ Feingold." I am hoping Conservatives, Republicans, Independents, and even Democrats will follow suit.
**See Third Party Logic ;-) where we learn Mr. Taylor serves on the Cumberland City Council, having won that position with 7 votes! Cumberland has a population of 2,350!
George Will: Instead of Shrugging, Ron Johnson is Running For Office
List: Wisconsin Candidates
This Saturday, Concours Motors in Glendale, Wisconsin, will host the Milwaukee Area Volkswagen Club's 17th annual VW show from 9am - 3pm. The event is open to the general public and is FREE! Volksfest benefits Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, so be prepared to donate a few bucks, if you are so inclined.
We attended for the first time last year and enjoyed looking at the eclectic collection of vintage and modified Volkswagens.
VW owners bring in their babies and display them out on the back lot. Attendees get to look! (No touching or drooling allowed.) Owners are often stationed by their cars and usually more than happy to tell you all about them. The vintage VWs ranged from mint condition to, modified, to camper buses.
By far, the most unique vehicle there was the blue bus in the pictures. It was, well, rustic, complete with wood stove and privy! I don't know if the owner will bring it again this year, but his rig had all the comforts of home--if you don't mind roughing it. It also featured a rope-pull starter, chaise lounge chair car seats, and bunk. He even modified the hubcap to do dual duty as a charcoal grill.
Evidently, the owner has driven that van for over 40 years, traveling across the US and Canada. He totaled it twice, set on fire 3 times, and dropped through lake ice once. He chronicles his experiences in his book: A Bus Will Take You There.
Check it out; we had a blast, but watch out for... Punch bug!
A special thanks to the South Milwaukee Lions Club for their donation of time and money to redo the landscaping in front of the library. Also a thank you to Nature's Nook for their donation of material.
Summer time at the South Milwaukee Library. Time to work on the garden and starting planning those family activities. Check ut the library's collection of gardening, picnics, barabecuing and tailgating.
Lady or "Lucky Lady" as we call her at Elmbrook is one lucky and loved little pooch who was reunited with her owner today after 3 days on the run! Lucky jumped out the window of her owner's parked car on Saturday near 150th/Capitol. Her owner, Dan, left her for a short time with the windows cracked. He was devastated when he returned to find his loving companion of 9 years gone! He immediately called area shelters and looked everywhere for Lucky but no leads turned up and they only had one sighting in the 36 hours since she went missing! Today, after 3 days on the run, the dog's luck began to change! Almost 10 miles from where she disappeared, a kind local Brookfield resident, saw Lucky and she jumped right into his car. Although Lucky wasn't wearing a collar, he immediately called Elmbrook Humane Society and our staff quickly went to work searching lost dog reports trying to make a match to locate Lucky's owner. Within minutes we were on the phone to Lucky's owner and through tears he confirmed that this indeed sounded like it was his dog. Lucky was afraid upon arrival at the shelter and had a few wounds that staff cleaned up but otherwise was in good condition overall. When her owner arrived, it was a tearful reunion and Lucky immediately perked up and her tail was up and wagging nonstop! The kind citizen that helped Lucky was also contacted as Lucky's owner wanted to thank him personally! The man who helped Lucky said he did so because he too has a dog and hoped that someone would do the same for him if his dog was ever lost!
The Elmbrook Education Foundation is a 501c3 organization that supports the students and schools of the Elmbrook School District by providing private financial support through the Foundation’s Educational Grant Programs. The Foundation also administers a community wide Continuing Education Scholarship program that matches scholarship donors to applicants that best meet the donor’s criteria. The Elmbrook Education Foundation’s permanent endowment includes honorary/memorial funds and funds supported by EEF Board members, Elmbrook staff, community members, and the alumni of Brookfield Central and Brookfield East High Schools.
I’m always asked how can I work around all our adorable cats and kittens every day and not adopt one. It isn’t easy.
According to one dictionary it means to take into one's family and bring up as one's own; to select and enter into a new relationship. When someone wants to adopt a child, there are all sorts of legal hurdles to jump through, classes to take, back-ground checks and who knows what else. People who seek to add a child to their family certainly have to be committed to their final goal. The decision is not entered into lightly. Different people look to adoption for different personal motives. Once the adoption has been realized, there is happiness, excitement, and then come the everyday ups and downs of child-raising. I don't want compare children to animal companions, but there are similarities. Certainly the shelters and rescue groups don't put the families through as many challenges. I think it has become easier than in previous years to add to your animal family.
The first time I adopted a dog, I was living in Maryland. We went to the local shelter to check out the animals. There was a cute puppy, terrier mix, and we filled out the required paperwork. That was followed up by a call and a visit from an adoption counselor. The person inspected our house and yard and ended up telling me that we needed to improve our fence so that a dog couldn't escape and that we couldn't have the puppy we had picked because it was part pit bull and would probably kill our cat. Well, I was shocked and kind of upset. I went right back to the shelter and picked out another dog, a 6 month old lab. This time I was asked if I realized how destructive labs could be and was I sure I didn't want to wait to find another dog. Well, I was more stubborn than the counselor and I took that dog home with me. She was so frightened that she had to be carried to the car. We had her for 13 years. And I never did improve my fence (and she never escaped).