Monday, August 13, 2012

Field of Honor draws 30,000 to Miller Park

“Thank you veterans for defending our freedom” was the key message to more than 30,000 people who packed Miller Park Aug. 11 when a 78-minute documentary about the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight premiered. Through a contribution by the Wisconsin Energy Foundation, we were the event’s major sponsor.

Live remarks were delivered by Joe Dean, president of Stars and Stripes Honor Flight, Inc.; Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker; Gale Klappa, chairman, president and CEO, We Energies; and Charlie Sykes, WTMJ-AM radio show host. Several other dignitaries and celebrities sent videotaped greetings and thanks, including:
From left, Charlie Sykes, Gale Klappa, Scott Walker. 
At podium, Joe Dean. All were on hand to show their
appreciation to the veterans.
  • Sen. Bob Dole 
  • Gen. John Allen of the U.S. and NATO Forces in Afghanistan 
  • Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and former quarterback Bart Starr 
  • Brewers Chris Narveson, Jonathan Lucroy and Corey Hart 
Former President George H. W. Bush’s letter of thanks also was read at the event.

Wisconsin Energy Foundation has supported the honor flight program since it started, sponsoring several flights.

The documentary, filmed by Wauwatosa native Dan Hayes, chronicles the honor flight experience, from Dean's kernel of an idea that started the program in 2008 to the homecoming that the flight attendees receive at Milwaukee’s airport at the end of their daylong trip to Washington, D. C., to visit the World War II Memorial, other memorials and Arlington National Cemetery.

Veterans, family, friends and other supporters 
packed Miller Park in Milwaukee.
In his remarks, Klappa said, “Through the prism of history, we understand much better today the enormity of the challenge, the magnitude of the sacrifice, and the valor of the young men and women who fought fearlessly for our freedom. Most were just entering the early prime of their lives. Many were fresh out of high school. Regardless, they chose to face, without hesitation, the great terror of that time. And we are forever grateful.”

WITI TV6 video

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