Living in or near the Capitol city, many area residents have never taken the time to visit the State Capitol and few know that the building is open to the public weekdays from 8:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m. and weekends and holidays from 8:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m.
Veterans' Day would be the perfect time to take your children to the Capitol to see a special exhibit called The Paper Wall, which is on display on the first floor of the Capitol's rotunda through Sunday, November 14.
Old black and white newspaper articles and obituaries mounted on large black wall dividers are a stark reminder of the 1,244 Wisconsin residents who made the ultimate sacrifice by giving their lives in service to their country during the Vietnam War. The display is arranged by county in alphabetical order circling the rotunda clockwise and then again counter-clockwise on the back of the panels. The Paper Wall was developed by the Brown County Library in association with volunteers across the state.
One could spend hours reading all of the stories and really should take the time to read some of them. They are amazingly similar, but at the same time vastly different – individual. Those who laid down their lives simply because their country asked them to do so. Many were so very young – all were so incredibly brave.
Veterans' Day dates back to World War I when it was first known as Armistice Day in celebration of the end of World War I.
We all have seen the joyous pictures that chronicled the jubilation at the end of World War II.
However, our Veterans returning from Vietnam were spat upon and called names. Those who could not or would not see the importance of stemming the tide of communism chose to demonstrate it through their inhumane treatment of our young men and women returning from war. Those charged with writing our country's history have often also belittled the war and those who served.
Hence, it is appropriate and entirely fitting that tributes, such as The Paper Wall, be on display to tell the true story of the war. Working Mom will probably go back again on the weekend to take her children to see it. We are, after all, our children's best and first teachers.
In Wisconsin, that true story is that one-thousand-two-hundred-forty-four of our best and brightest served for us and either returned in a flag covered coffin or never returned at all.