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A Wisconsin veteran explains a funeral honors program and the increasing loss of Vietnam vets

Chuck Quirmbach
For Memorial Day, flags have been placed next to the headstones at Wood National Cemetery in Milwaukee.

Several ceremonies in southeastern Wisconsin this Memorial Day will honor members of the military
who have died.

Increasingly, those are men and women from the Vietnam War era.

For those veterans who pass away now, the state-administered Military Funeral Honors Program (MFHP) helps provide a final tribute that can include the presentation of a flag, the playing of taps and even a 21-gun salute. The state relies on veterans groups to perform the ceremonies.

Timothy Green is with the Kenosha Area Vietnam Vets Honor Guard. Green tells WUWM's Chuck Quirmbach that all veterans are entitled to the MFHP. He says a funeral home will contact him. Then, he will contact other members of the honor guard, and coordinate matters with the family of the deceased vet, including adhering to the family's wishes.

Green says the guard tries to do its best to say goodbye to all veterans who pass away.

"No matter what war they did, especially the Vietnam vet. We give them their final good bye and final salute. It means a lot to us, and it means a lot, lot more to the families," he says.

Green is Vietnam veteran. He says, "We get a lot of Vietnam vets (passing away) more than anything else right now. It's a lot harder seeing your own brothers passing. All of our brothers (from all eras) is hard. But it's more personal with the Vietnam vets."

The Field of Flags at Veterans Park, at Milwaukee's lakefront.
Maayan Silver
The Field of Flags at Veterans Park at Milwaukee's lakefront.

Green says he hopes members of the general public take part in Memorial Day events, as a way to honor veterans. He says the current conflict between Russia and Ukraine remind him how important freedom really is.

Green says the main event he is attending Monday in Kenosha begins at noon at Library Park. The Milwaukee VA is hosting a Memorial Day observance, beginning at 9 a.m. at Wood National Cemetery. Waukesha will hold a Memorial Day service at 9 a.m. followed by a parade at 10. Forest Home Cemetery in Milwaukee will hold a memorial service at 11 a.m.

Other communities in the area are also holding ceremonies.

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