Saturday, November 11, 2017

Wisconsin historical markers for Veterans Day

Wisconsin does a spectacular job of marking its history with historical markers at its rest areas. Are you paying attention, other states?

On Veterans Day I have a couple of them for you.

On US Route 41 at Rest Area 64 near Lomira--on the northbound lanes--you'll find this historical commemoration.

It reads:
More than 330,000 Wisconsin residents, including 9,000 women, served in the armed forces between December 7, 1941, and the surrender of Japan on September 2, 1945. They participated in every theater of war and in virtually every major campaign, from Wake Island to New Guinea, from France and Romania to Burma and Okinawa. Approximately 8,000 perished. Another 13,000 were wounded in combat. Fifteen earned the nation’s highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor.

On the home front, Wisconsin contributed its share and more to Allied victory. Despite shortages of feed, fertilizer, new machinery, and labor, state farmers delivered record amounts of agricultural products. Wisconsin’s industries responded similarly, producing automotive components, marine engines, ammunition, air-craft parts, uniforms, footgear, even ocean-going vessels such as frigates, minesweepers, cargo ships, and submarines. And on farms and in factories throughout the state, women and schoolchildren took the place of men in uniform.

World War II was truly a "people's war."
Although technically not a rest area--there are no washroom facilities--just south of the Michigan state line there is a "Welcome to Wisconsin" sign. In the selfie era of our culture that qualifies as a premier pullover stop. And that is where, on US Route 45 north of Land O'Lakes, you'll find a historical marker noting the Thirty-Second Division Memorial Highway. US 45 runs concurrently with Wisconsin Route 32, which runs from Wisconsin's northern border to Pleasant Prairie and the Illinois state line.

The 32nd Infantry Division consisted of National Guard soldiers from Michigan and Wisconsin. In World War I it was the first allied division to cross the Hindenburg Line, the division's symbol, a red arrow, pays tribute to its ability to pierce the enemy's defenses in the Great War.

In World War II the Red-Arrow Division fought in the Pacific Theater.

This marker reads:
The 32nd Division was organized in 1917. Originally it was made up of National Guardsmen from Wisconsin and Michigan.

World War I: Fought in Alsace, Aisne-Marne, Oise-Aisne, and Meuse-Argonne Offensives. Vanquished 23 German Divisions. Served in the Army of Occupation in Germany. De-activated in 1919.

World War II: One of the first to be called. Fought offensively in the Buna-Sanananda Operations. Saidor, Aitape, Morotai, Biak, Leyte and Luzon campaigns. 654 days in action in the Pacific Theater. Served in the Army of Occupation in Japan. De-activated in 1946.

This highway is dedicated to the gallant men of the Thirty-Second Red Arrow Division who made the supreme sacrifice in both wars.

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