Mini World War II memorial brings joy to veterans in Union Grove

UNION GROVE (WITI) — Some World War II veterans have had the opportunity of hopping aboard an “Honor Flight” and visiting their monument in Washington, D.C. — and now, there is a group taking the monument to the veterans.

“I like to refer to them as the Humblest Generation instead of the Greatest Generation because they were so humble when they came back from the war that they never asked for anything. They just went back to their jobs and their loved ones,” Pillars of Honor President Steven Schaefer said.

For the last three years, Pillars of Honor has traveled around with a large model of the World War II memorial in Washington, D.C.

On Sunday, September 8th, they stopped in Union Grove.

The biggest challenge on this day was finding enough room for an overflow of veterans.

“It’s a great feeling because we see these people, these men and women and they are so grateful for us coming,” Schaefer said.

Among the many World War II veterans in the crowd was 94-year-old Cleo Herem. Despite the fact that dozens surrounded her on Sunday, she said she feels alone.

“I bet I’m the only World War II woman veteran in the bunch! There weren’t many of us left,” Herem said.

Herem served as a cook, and said while she wanted to see the traveling monument on Sunday, she really hoped to see someone she cooked for.

After nearly two hours of music and speeches, the mini memorial was unveiled — something that brought a bit of joy to a crowd that is easy to please.

Pillars of Honor brings the model-sized monuments to veterans homes throughout the Midwest, and has previously stopped in Kenosha and Milwaukee.

The memorial in Washington, D.C. opened in 2004.

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