GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – Memorial Day is a time to honor veterans who have died.
At Nicolet Memorial Gardens, 3 people shared their stories of loved ones they lost.
Robin Janson lost her father, Vern Donnelly, a Navy commander when she was only 7 years old.
About speaking to the crowd, she says, “I felt like when I was speaking, my dad was on my left and my brother Mike, who has passed was on my right. It’s this moment of connection.”
Linda Collison lost her 21-year-old son Logan to suicide.
Collison says, “These veterans, they don’t reach out. Reach out to them. Listen to their stories. Let them know that they’re not alone.”
Both women laid wreaths to honor their loved ones, along with all veterans who served, were prisoners of war, went missing in action, or died from suicide.
Army veteran Rich Heidel spoke to the crowd about his friend Ken Jerabek. Jerabek was a veteran who played a key role in organizing the service every year, and he passed away of cancer in November.
“He could never do enough for people. He could come across as a gruff bear, but he had a heart bigger than the state of Texas. He’d do anything for you and he did everything for a lot of people,” Heidel says.
In addition to laying the wreaths, the service also included taps, folding of the flag, and a rifle salute.
Heidel shared what he hopes people can take away from the service.
He says, “We’re here for 2 reasons. One is to commemorate and remember, but the other also is to set an example and to impart to the next generation the incalculable value of not only our country but our form of government.”