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Author: Lee Matz

104th Annual Christmas Tree lighting begins Milwaukee’s holiday season

After the tree lighting in New York City, Milwaukee held the second oldest holiday tradition of its kind in the United States on November 16, with festivities that included performances of music and dance, and a fireworks show along the river. Previously held at Red Arrow Park for many years, the tree lighting location returned to its original spot at Wells and Water Streets in 2016, at the City Hall planter. Thousands of Milwaukee residents attended the festivities and enjoyed treats like hot cocoa and freshly baked ginger bread men. Special guests included Santa and his reindeer, and carols...

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George Banda: Honoring lost friends in vigil to Vietnam veterans at The Wall

Milwaukee’s George Banda joined veterans and volunteers from around the country who participated in the Reading of the Names of the 58,318 service members on The Wall. Part of a week of events to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, names were read from 5:00 a.m. until midnight from November 8 to 10, spanning 65 hours over the four days leading up to Veterans Day. The vigil had mostly fair weather, with incidents of evening rain. “I went to Vietnam to entertain the troops in 1966 and 1968. If you lived through the Vietnam War era,...

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The irony of visiting heroes at Arlington, the former home of a national traitor

George Banda traveled from Milwaukee to Washington DC for Veterans Day 2017 events. Along his journey, he visited many of his fallen friends by paying tribute to their names on The Wall, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and their graves at Arlington National Cemetery. Shortly after graduating from Boy’s Tech High School on the South Side of Milwaukee, Banda joined the Army. He enlisted with many buddies from the neighborhood who he grew up with, including Joe Rocha. Other friends were made and lost during his deployment in Vietnam, like Ed Vesser and Refugio Thomas Teran. During his enlistment with...

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Statue honoring immigrant motherhood rededicated at Cathedral Square Park

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee held the public rededication at Cathedral Square Park for the restored Immigrant Mother statue created by Croatian artist Ivan Meštrović on November 13. The bronze sculpture depicts a mother with her children, and was originally installed in 1960 to honor universal motherhood. It was designed as a reminder for area residents that all Milwaukee mothers had come from some other distant land, and that those who believed in the core values of the national identity would be rewarded with the possibilities of American life. The rededication ceremony was led by Janan Najeeb, Rabbi Marcey Rosenbaum,...

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Photo Essay: Milwaukee’s 54th Annual Veterans Day Parade salutes hometown heroes

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.” – Ronald Reagan, 40th President of the United States Veterans from across Southeastern Wisconsin marched through downtown Milwaukee on November 4, greeted with the cheers and gratitude from the public, for an event that honored their service to the nation. While the holiday is considered grammatically acceptable to print as Veteran’s Day or Veterans’ Day with an apostrophe, the official spelling does not include...

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A faith community ends after 150 years with last service at St. James

St. James Episcopal Church completed its journey with Christ as a Parish on November 1, after a remarkable 150 years of worship on Wisconsin Avenue with a final service before the Parish closed. The church was first called the Parish of St. James. It was established as a mission by St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on Milwaukee’s East side. Although, the two churches are only two miles apart, in 1850 the west side needed a church presence for a growing population. The site of the new church was considered a fair distance from town. “In the end, we were too...

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