Rememberance Wall honors fallen soldiers in Iraq
SPRING VALLEY --- While not a member of the Armed Forces himself, Steve Schreiber has a deep appreciation and respect for veterans who have fought to protect our country.
So when he thought the Vietnam Wall in Washington, D.C., was being constructed at a pace slower than expected, Schreiber wasn't going to pass up the opportunity if another war like Vietnam came about.
Unfortunately, it did, as the war in Iraq developed. And as the death toll increased, Schreiber took action.
"With all these poor kids dying in Wisconsin, someone had to step up and do something, so I did," he said.
The end result is "The Rememberance Wall: Wisconsin Veterans of Iraq War" located across from the Hersey Cave, the bar Schreiber owns. (Hersey is located on Hwy. 12 north of Spring Valley between Wilson and Woodville in St. Croix County. To get to the wall from Hwy. 12, take either a left or right turn at the sign advertising the Hersey Cave. Keep going straight on the road and one can't miss the wall.)
Groundbreaking for the wall occurred right around Veterans Day 2005, thanks to help from local American Legion groups in the area.
"There have been quite a few contributions," he explained as, for example, the labor work was all volunteered. "The cost of the project doesn't mean much, as it's more important about the idea of the project. I'm not begging for money."
In regard to getting the names, he acquired them from the Veterans' Administration of Hudson. Their only request was not to have the soldiers' ranks or serial numbers listed.
And in regard to the sponsors, Schreiber described them as "fantastic." They included Hammond Memorial for the engraving, Redi Mix of Roberts for the concrete work and Wendy Hill Landscaping of Wilson. Of special note, he mentioned the brick surrounding the wall came from the original Hersey Town Hall, which was built by Civil War veterans.
Construction took about a year and, by this past Veterans' Day, it was ready for public viewing.
So far, in its two months, the reaction has been very pleasing to him.
"Everyone's been very favorable of it," he said. "It's the first of its kind." And for the record, Schreiber said, "he's not in favor of war, but in favor of freedom."
Currently, the list contains 65 names all in chronological order (the list includes three Pierce County fallen soldiers: Bert Hoyer, Trevor Diesing and Jamie Jaenke). Schreiber said more will be coming this spring.
Matter of fact, even veterans from other wars has been given their thumbs-up to this wall.
"They've been super, super positive," Schreiber said. "Most of the support has come from Vietnam soldiers. They're ecstatic to see someone do it so quickly."