Skip to main content

This & That: Fading Heroes

May 22, 2015 11:08AM, Published by Erik Dittmann, Categories: In Print, Today



Image title

By: Dave Bowman

This past week I attended my uncle’s funeral in Rockford. He had led a long and productive life there, and I have many fond memories of him. He was my mother’s older brother; her younger brother had passed away several years ago.

One of the special opportunities I had was to honor his service to our country. He had served in the Army, 34th Division, 135th Infantry Battalion, in North Africa and Italy.  He was wounded on November 7, 1943, and then returned as a Military Policeman in Italy. As I was growing up and visiting my grandparents’ house, I would often be regaled with stories about his service.  My grandmother would casually mention a tea set on her hutch that he had gotten from one of Benito Mussolini’s houses and the letters he would write her from riding on the back of a mule that the troops used in the mountains.

At the graveside was a tribute that I had witnessed just once before at my other uncle’s funeral. He had been in the Navy in World War II and served in the South Pacific.  At both their funerals, their service was honored with a gun salute, the folding of the American flag on top of the casket, and words of comfort to the family as the flag was handed to a family member. It is something that still makes me pause and contemplate as I remember it.

I have had many opportunities to hear about veterans’ experiences in the various skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers where I have worked as a social worker.  The stories veterans are willing to share are both enlightening and awe inspiring. Whether it was the B17 pilot who told me that “It’s not like in the movies,” the infantry engineer who landed on Utah Beach during D-Day in the first wave up the beach, or the battle-hardened veteran who looked at me in my tie with clipboard in hand and told me “You know, Dave, Patton would have kicked you all over Europe,” with a chuckle and a grin.  What higher praise, indeed!

General Douglas MacArthur once said, “Old soldiers never die, they just fade away.” This generation of warriors, the “Greatest Generation” as Tom Brokaw so eloquently put it, is fading into the sunset of history.  So, if you get a chance to talk to a veteran of any conflict, please lend an ear and listen to their tales.  They have a story worth hearing, and a story worth remembering.  Their story is why we can continue to cherish the freedom and liberties we enjoy.

So, here is a big salute and thank you to my Uncle Wayne and my Uncle Don, two of our finest heroes from the “Greatest Generation” that is slowly, one by one, fading away. 




veterans memorial day May June 2015 tribute greatest generation


  • Walldogs Mural Walk

    07/24/2017
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    The Beaver Dam community is all pitching in to revive the downtown in order to create a vibrant s...


  • Mom's Unite Evening Meet Up

    07/25/2017
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    Join us for a Mom's Group! Bring your kids or bring yourself! The choice is yours! Our Mom's g...


  • Mom's Unite Morning Meet Up

    07/26/2017
    08:30AM — 09:30AM

    Join us for a Mom's Group! Bring your kids or bring yourself! The choice is yours! Our Mom's g...


  • Native Prairie Plants and Seed Bombs

    07/26/2017
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    Learn about native Wisconsin prairie plants from Elizabeth Herzmann, WI Department of Natural Re...


  • Kids From Wisconsin

    07/26/2017
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    The Kids from Wisconsin are back at the Schauer for their 49th show season! Sit back, buckle up, ...


  • Restless Heart

    07/26/2017
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    Playing a pop-friendly brand of country-rock indebted to The Eagles, Restless Heart was one of th...


  • Adventure Kids

    07/27/2017
    09:30AM — 11:00AM

    Drop the kiddos off to a morning of ADVENTURE! Adventure Kids includes Adventure, Crafts and Play...


  • Mom's Unite Active Play Meet Up

    07/27/2017
    10:30AM — 11:30AM

    Join us for a Mom's Group! Bring your kids or bring yourself! The choice is yours! Our Mom's g...


  • Bike Night at the Library

    07/27/2017
    06:00PM — 07:30PM

    Ride your bike to the library to see a Beaver Dam Police Department Bicycle up close, enter to wi...


It looks like we don't have any events for this date. You can always add an event.

It looks like we don't have any events for this date. You can always add an event.

  • Walldogs Mural Walk

    07/24/2017
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    The Beaver Dam community is all pitching in to revive the downtown in order to create a vibrant s...


  • Mom's Unite Evening Meet Up

    07/25/2017
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    Join us for a Mom's Group! Bring your kids or bring yourself! The choice is yours! Our Mom's g...


  • Native Prairie Plants and Seed Bombs

    07/26/2017
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    Learn about native Wisconsin prairie plants from Elizabeth Herzmann, WI Department of Natural Re...


  • Kids From Wisconsin

    07/26/2017
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    The Kids from Wisconsin are back at the Schauer for their 49th show season! Sit back, buckle up, ...


  • Bike Night at the Library

    07/27/2017
    06:00PM — 07:30PM

    Ride your bike to the library to see a Beaver Dam Police Department Bicycle up close, enter to wi...


  • EARTHcamp - Big Blue Planet

    08/05/2017
    09:00AM — 03:00PM

    With this theme, campers will learn about recycling, water quality and conservation, wetland res...



High School Sports
Weekly Recipes