Photos of Wisconsin Vets on Vietnam wall featured in Highground exhibit
FOR CITY TIMES
NEILLSVILLE — Army Corporal Jerome Morneau of Neillsville has a photo. Army First Lieutenant Charles Beranek of Mosinee has a photo. Their photos – and more than 1,100 others – were collected by volunteers from throughout Wisconsin as part of a national effort to put a face to the names listed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C.
Wisconsin was just the fifth state in the nation to find a photo for every resident listed on the Wall, and thanks to an exhibit created by Wisconsin Public Radio, PBS Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Veterans Museum, you won’t have to travel far to see them. The exhibit – Wisconsin Remembers: A Face for Every Name – is on display through December 31 at The Highground Veterans Memorial Park in Neillsville.
“The Highground was founded to remember those lost in the Vietnam War. Through the photographs of Wisconsin Remembers we keep their memory alive. It reminds us, also, of their youth and of the possibilities and potential of those lives that were cut short,” said Theresa Hebert, museum and veterans program coordinator. “Many visitors that come to see the exhibit are family members, classmates, or veterans that served in Vietnam. Being able to see that the men who never returned from Vietnam are being remembered and honored helps many of these visitors in their personal closure and healing.”
First created in 2016, the exhibit was recently updated with additional names and photos to mark the 40th anniversary of the Wall. Friends and family of those who were killed in Vietnam submitted photos, but so did students, teachers and others who simply wanted to put a face to Wisconsin names on the Wall. Wisconsinites from 71 of 72 counties were killed in the war and are featured in the exhibit.
“Collecting the photos for this project was a moving, life-changing experience,” noted Bryce Kelley, a former teacher who – with his students – helped find more than 600 of the photos. “Seeing the finished project for the first time brought a flood of emotions – the faces of all of them, from each of our Wisconsin cities, towns, and villages, put together in one place – is so powerful and so moving, it is beyond words. Wisconsin Remembers will ensure that the lives of these men are forever remembered and that their stories will always be told.”
Wisconsin Remembers is part of the Wisconsin Veterans Museum’s traveling exhibit program, so community groups can request to host the exhibit in public spaces around the state for just the cost of shipping.
To request the traveling exhibit in your town contact Gregory Krueger of the Wisconsin Veterans Museum at (608) 261-0541 or email [email protected].