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Village of Rothschild commemorates families of fallen soldiers

American Legion Post 492 holds ceremony for Gold Star Mothers and families.
American Legion Post 492 holds ceremony for Gold Star Mothers and families.(WSAW)
Published: Sep. 26, 2021 at 8:58 PM CDT
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ROTHSCHILD, Wis. (WSAW) - The last Sunday in September is known as Gold Star Mother’s Day. It’s a day to recognize families of fallen soldiers in our country. The American Legion Post 492 held a ceremony Sunday for Gold Star families and mothers.

The 1-year-old Gold Star Mother’s statue at Rothschild’s Veterans Memorial Park gives comfort to families and signifies that they are not alone.

“If they need to come and reflect to think about things to just find peace in their loss, it lets them know that they’re not alone,” American Legion Post 492 Commander, Paul Gwidt said.

One Gold Star mother said that the statue also serves as a reminder.

“There have been others before me and there will be more after me, that come to the realization of this very same thing that we lost a member of our family in the service of our country,” Gloria Sonnentag said.

Gwidt added that families of the fallen are sometimes forgotten about.

“People always talk about the fallen, they go to the cemeteries, they see the soldiers, the sailors, the airmen, and the marines who have been killed in action or gave their lives for our country, but many people forget that there’s a family attached to the person who’s name is on that headstone,” Gwidt said.

The ceremony at the park was also a way to honor the park’s founder and the driving force behind the statue, Joe Kelbley who died three weeks ago.

“He lost a friend in Vietnam, and after he visited his friend’s parents decades ago, he decided to make it his mission to make sure those families are not forgotten,” Gwidt said.

It took 14 years from start to finish of getting the statue to Rothschild. Now it serves as a reminder that there are people in the community silently grieving.

“They don’t boast of their loss, they carry that burden quietly...we recognize that there are people in the community that lost someone to service and that their memorial day is every day,” Gwidt said.

There are only four statues of the Gold Star Mother in the U.S. The other three are only on the east coast.

Gwidt added that the statue is expected to become the national monument for American Gold Star Mothers.

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