Milwaukee war memorial honors 75th anniversary of end to World War II
Milwaukee celebrated 75 years since the United States declared victory over Japan with a replica of the World War II memorial, a flyover and a ceremony honoring Wisconsinites who served in the war.
On Wednesday, veterans and others gathered for a commemoration ceremony on the Fitch Plaza of Milwaukee’s War Memorial Center. During the service, two vintage warplanes flew over the crowd. One flight pattern honored fallen soldiers. The other flight pattern honored those missing in action.
A field of flags also sits in Veterans Park to celebrate the anniversary.
World War II U.S. Navy veteran Julian Plaster gave a prayer to start the event. He was home by the time the war ended and remembered that day clearly.
“It was a blessing when I heard the Japanese had surrendered,” he said. “We had a little flag and flew it. It wasn’t big, but it meant something to us.”
A replica of the World War II memorial in Washington, D.C., was also revealed for the ceremony.
The replica has stone columns for each state and large columns for the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. It was created in 2015, and this is the first time it is in Wisconsin and the Midwest.
The memorial includes The Wall of Freedom, which has 4,048 stars, each representing 100 Americans who were killed during World War II.
War Memorial Center President Dan Buttery said it took seven months to arrange for the traveling memorial to come to Milwaukee.
“It was an effort to try and really impact and remember 75 years ago what happened here at the end of that really brutal war,” he said.
The World War II traveling memorial will be in Milwaukee until Friday morning, along with banners that honor outstanding service by Wisconsinites during World War II.
The memorial is free for the public to view. The War Memorial Center asks visitors with internet access to register online to limit crowding at the memorial for extra safety during the pandemic. Face masks are also required.