Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI
May 27, 1993, Page 32
Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.
Index of "Good Old Days" Articles
Good Old Days
Memorial Day… A Time to Remember
By Dee Zimmerman
In reviewing the Clark County Press issues of 1945, news items can be found, relating to the surrender of Germany during World War II, then V-E Day.
The first flash of the surrender came May 7th, but was met with some skepticism until President Truman made the official announcement to the people. Then realization that it was true that the European conflict was over, the people’s reaction was that of a calm thankfulness. Extra editions of newspapers were published immediately relaying the good news to all communities. It carried news of the momentous events between the surrender and the signing of the surrender pact. In addition, there was a complete review of the war against Germany.
The first flash of the news to reach Neillsville came from an agent of the Omaha Road and Telegraph at the local station, E. G. Grotenhaus. That first flash was soon confirmed by details arriving by radio.
On the following Tuesday, V-E Day was officially observed in Neillsville. All business places and offices were closed. The statement was made “The town was quieter than an average Sunday.” The Neillsville public schools observed the day with short programs. The school superintendent, D. E. Peters, spoke to the high school student body. He gave an informal talk on the meaning of the day, explaining the San Francisco Conference and significance of its proceedings. All classes were dismissed at noon, that Tuesday, in observance of the day.
All area churches held worship services in observance of V-E Day. St. John’s Congregation included it at the following Sunday 10:30 service with Pastor Wm. A. Baumann sending pamphlets to each home reminding all parishioners to hold private family services in their homes.
Zion Reformed Church’s Rev. N. J. Deckant conducted a Thanksgiving service. Congressional (Congregational) and Methodist Churches had a union service with the address given by Rev. Floyd A Fahlgren. The Christian Science held a special prayer service.
As President Truman began broadcasting the news of V-E Day, St. Mary’s Catholic Church bells rang in observance. Parishioners gathered for a special service that evening, Fr. J. A. Biegler conducted the service.
Servicemen were discharged on a point system. The points were determined by length of time, such as one point was credited for each month of service overseas after September, 1940, etc. A total of 85 points or more earned an honorable discharge.
“Bud” Bremer was the first local soldier discharged under the point system of the Army. “Bud” was a member of the Original Service Company, leaving here with that organization in October 1940.
Louis Zschernitz, also, was one of the first Neillsville soldiers to return under the point system. Louis served 7 ˝ years, having also been one of the Original Service Company members. During that time, he was overseas for 34 months, serving in the Pacific area and was discharged at Ft. Sheridan, Illinois.
Three months later, World War II ended when Japan surrendered. Once again, organized groups gave thanks for the final victory and end to some trying years. The Clark County Fair was held shortly after that news broke and celebration events were included in its program.
This Monday, May 31st, is the day Memorial Services will be held in communities in our country. A time to remember all those who didn’t return from past wars. A day to hope and pray for peace and an end to war throughout the world.
The following poem, written by an area resident seems appropriate:
Have you ever heard a story
A veteran will tell
If not, come listen and sit a spell
Listen carefully as what they have to say
Of a distant land, oh so far away
Their face filled with sadness
As tears bedew their eyes
As the story they tell
With a pause and a sigh
Yes, listen to our veterans
And the stories untold
Of the war’s and the heartache,
Of the brave and the bold.
By June Whitfield
With so many men and women in the armed services during World War II, there were possibly two, three, four or more from one family serving all at the same time. The late Ben Langreck had three sons, who were in the Army service. The older, Lawrence, entered the service in June, 1941; Edmund joined in February, 1942, and Bernard entered the Army Air Forces on April, 1943. (Photo courtesy of Larry (Lawrence) Langreck, Neillsville)
A view of Neillsville in 1874, approaching from the west: The dirt road, which now is the route of Highway 10 and 5th Street, center of the photograph. The camera had to have been set up near what is now the site of St. John’s Lutheran Church. All buildings were of wooden frame structure except the Hewett-Woods brick building on corner of 5th and Hewett, at the time.
For many years an old landmark, within Neillsville, was the Foster hotel built about 1870 to accommodate loggers, lumberjacks and transients. It was one of a half dozen hotels erected in the city during the pioneer era and was classed among the top three in size. This photo was taken shortly before it was razed in the early 1960’s.
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