Veterans memorial emphasizes healing
On June 29, members of the Staples All Veterans Park board, Bob Hamann, Huck Holst, Kevin Jenkins and Mel Daniels, along with Lee Jenkins and Joan Hamann, visited the Highground Veterans Memorial Park in Neillsville, Wisc.
Highground is more of a state park located in the center of Wisconsin. Like the veterans park in Staples, it is not a war memorial but embraces a mission to honor veterans and educate about the human cost of war. Healing is a central theme of the park.
Highground has a Wisconsin Vietnam Veterans, Korean War, honors nurses who served our nation, World War II, a Native American Vietnam Veterans Memorial, a WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilot), a World War I featuring a bronze Doughboy, a Wisconsin Persian Gulf in the shape of a boot, a Dove honoring the POW and MIA and a Gold Star honoring families who lost a member as a result of their service; all tributes to those who served.
Highground has a unique living memorial of a Native American effigy mound. At the park MIA also means “Missing in America”, those who are home in body, but are missing emotionally or in spirit. PTSD affects many veterans. For every person killed in our current wars there are 20 that came back home with PTSD. “They are our Missing in America,” the park recognizes, “Missing an arm, a leg, a body part or part of their psyche, they no longer are the same person as before they went to war.”
Highground also has a Meditation Garden with four areas designed for reflection and meditation. Again the emphasis is on healing.
Their next tribute will be for Military Working Dogs.
The park is 155 acres which includes an information/gift center, a learning center, and an exact replica of the Liberty Bell which all visitors are encouraged to ring.
The group learned a lot about developing a successful park. Some of the concepts and ideas included; tributes, fundraising and annual events which will be considered for the Staples All Veterans Park.