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Families, community members observe Memorial Day at Wood National Cemetery

Posted at 5:31 AM, Jun 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-01 06:31:54-04

MILWAUKEE — Families and community members went to Wood National Cemetery on Monday afternoon to observe Memorial Day and honor fallen servicemen and women.

"My father is buried across the street here, and we have a number of relatives here," said David Kroenke.

Kroenke brought his son, Gino, to honor their fallen relatives. David served in the U.S. Army, and he says Memorial Day brings him mixed emotions.

"It's happiness, it's anger, it's learning all at the same time conflicts we would like to avoid," Kroenke said.

Jeff Richter said his father served overseas in 1945, after he lost two cousins in the Pacific. One is named Gordon Spredeman.

"One was a ship's cook on an LST that got hit by a kamikaze right before Christmas," Richter said.

Kris Korpela was at the cemetery touching up her husband, Thomas Korpela's, marking with paint.

"He served in Vietnam," Korpela said. "He was in the Navy on a ship, the Springfield and the Little Rock. And he's been gone 17 years now."

Korpela said her American Legion post in Hartland raised $1,500 for the Soldiers Home, apartments for veterans and their families who are experiencing homelessness.

"Because of them we have a bright future for our kids, and we're just thankful," said Vladimir Arroza.

Arroza emigrated from the Philippines and came to the cemetery with his wife. He says he doesn't have family who served but says he believes everyone who served has made a difference in his life today.

"We're not born here but being, having the chance to live here and be naturalized, we've won the lottery," Arroza said

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