A different kind of Memorial Day

Legion Post, Auxiliary uphold tradition despite limited public participation

LANDT-THIEL AMERICAN LEGION member Don Race (top photo) did his part last week to help observe National Poppy Day by making the paper flowers, the sale of which raises money to help disabled veterans. Race and his wife, Mary Ellen, who’s a member of the Legion Auxiliary, on Tuesday decorated graves of veterans buried at St. Finbar’s Cemetery in the Town of Saukville. Below, Mary Ellen is shown beside the grave of Walter Frawley, a World War I veteran who died in 1935. The badges decorating his grave are his American Legion membership badge and the World War I plaque. Photos by Sam Arendt
Ozaukee Press Staff

There will be no parade this year due to worries over the coronavirus, but local veterans will do what they can to honor their fallen comrades this Memorial Day.

With the state Supreme Court ruling last week rescinding Gov. Tony Evers’ Safer at Home order, the Landt-Thiel American Legion Post 470 will hold a graveside service at 10 a.m. on Monday, May 25, at Union Cemetery in Saukville, but it will not be open to the general public.

The service will include a rifle salute by an honor guard and the sounding of Taps.

The Post Auxiliary’s annual poppy drive to raise funds for disabled veterans was disrupted this year due to the Covid-19 outbreak. The drive usually includes distributing paper poppies at local grocery stores and elsewhere to collect donations that benefit disabled veterans.

The effort also annually includes visits to local schools by Auxiliary members who distribute the poppies and explain the history of the poppies, which commemorate those who fell in battle during World War I and have come to be emblematic of the sacrifice of all veterans who have died serving their country.

To help compensate, Auxiliary members will stage an outside Poppy Drive Through Donation from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday,  May 22, which is National Poppy Day, at Legion Hall. Visitors can pick up a poppy and make a donation without getting out of their car.

“We can participate in an event to honor the fallen and support the living while practicing caution and responsibility as you drive in and out with your vehicles,” Auxiliary Publicity Chairman Mary Ellen Race said.

Poppies distributed by the local Auxiliary are made by disabled veterans at the Zablocki Veterans Administration Medical Center in Milwaukee.

Local Legion member Don Race, Mary Ellen’s husband pitched in to help make poppies this year.

Legion and Auxiliary members also decorated the graves of veterans this week at Union and St. Mary Catholic cemeteries in the Village of Saukville and at St. Finbar’s Cemetery in the Town of Saukville.

Volunteers are usually assisted by six to eight local Scouts in decorating the graves, but not this year due to coronavirus concerns, Legion officials said.

Volunteers use maps created by the Scouts and updated by the Ozaukee County Veterans Services Office to find veterans graves, many of which belong to Civil War veterans.

Flags are provided by the Ozaukee County Veterans Services Office. Veterans Services Officer Kevin Johnson said about 4,800 flags are distributed annually throughout the county for Memorial Day.



Click Here to Send a Letter to the Editor

Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


User login