- A 90 year old World War 1 memorial in Merrill says, “Lest We Forget”... Current members of the VFW want us to always remember 49 soldiers who lost their lives in that war.
Now they have a lasting way to do that. It's probably 100 years old-- made entirely of bronze- and weighs about 400 pounds. It lists 45 soldeirs who died in WW1. What they don't know about this plaque, is who made it.
"We suspect there was a group of veterans in Lincoln County, WW1 veterans, that commissioned it many, many years ago, but they're all gone now. So we don't know who actually made this plaque, but we want to display it next to this World War 1 memorial," said Steve Sabatke motioning to the cenotaph memorial in Merrill on the corner of Prospect and Main streets. Sabatke is a member of VFW post 10203, and organizer of the memorial addition.
Now the plaque sits in Fillmore Metal Crafter's workshop. It's got years of dirt dulling its shine, but Scott Fillmore has donated his time to restore it.
"We're just trying to bring back what somebody did a long time ago... This thing was hiding somewhere on a wall, and now it's going to be out for everybody to see," said Fillmore.
The VFW's research found 4 more soldiers who died in WW1, in addition to the 45 listed on the plaque. They envision the memorial as a simple and dignified way to remember each of these very young lives lost.
"They probably died in their early teens or 20's, so lest we forget all these guys who basically gave up their lives for us, their very young lives, we want to make sure that we remember them," said Sabatke.
The VFW posts of Marathon and Lincoln Co. want to dedicate the new memorial this coming Memorial Day.
They hope to raise $2,500 for paving stones for the additional soldier’s names, and a walkway to the plaque.
You can donate to the VFW’s memorial fund. Make checks payable to VFW Post 10201, 14641 City HWY F, Hamburg WI 54411, Memo: Cenotaph Fund. Or, contact a local VFW member of posts 10203, 1038, or 2087.
Story By: Kailey Burton