This article originally ran on November 11, 2010, after a Veterans Day ceremony at Williams Park.
Brookfield veterans reinstituted a Veterans Day wreath laying ceremony on Thursday morning, with a handful of local heroes in attendance at the memorial at the entrance to Williams Park.
The ceremony had been held at the same location for years, however last year nothing came together and the regular observance was thought to have been cancelled, according to Brian and Carol Kaley, who live nearby and walked down for the ceremony.
Veterans Day was originally known as Armistice Day for the signing of the agreement that ended World War I in 1918 at the "11th hour of the 11thday of the 11th month," as Assistant State Attorney General and Air Force veteran Robert Marconi said. Marconi, who retired from 28 years in the Air National Guard as a Lieutenant Colonel in 2009, served four years in the Air Force as a judge advocate, including being stationed in Korea for a year in 1983.
Fred Busch, who offered a prayer of remembrance to their fallen brothers and of thanks for their own salvation, was there with his wife Peggy. The two were engaged before Fred left to serve on the ground in Germany during the Cold War. Busch was deployed from 1950 to 1952 and is now quartermaster for VFW Troop 10201 in Brookfield.
"It troubles me when people call it a conflict. It was a war — I left two friend over there," Busch said. "If the Russians had a made a move, we might have lasted 20 minutes," he said of the overwhelming pressure on the U.S. troops stationed overseas during the Cold War.
Even though a hot conflict never broke out between the U.S. and Soviet Russia, being stationed in Germany was "a message to the Soviets that if they attacked, we were willing to stand and die," Marconi said.
Bob Brown was with the Air Force through the Vietnam era, including one year working special counter-insurgency ops on the ground.
"We had a presence in certain areas, which was known to thwart socialist activities," Brown said. "It was a nasty war," and very political, he added. "Everyone had their fingers in it."
Brian Kaley is also a veteran of the Vietnam War, having flown with the Air Force in one of the first air strikes of the struggle in 1965. "I went over for the initial bombing raids into North Vietnam," he said.
Another pilot, Brookfielder Valentine Riordan, was also in attendance. Riordan served with the Air Force from 1967 to 1994, flying in every major conflict from "Vietnam through Desert Storm."
State Rep. David Scribner (R-107) was also in attendance and said he is "proud to represent a community like Brookfield that honors those who served," referencing the concert held in their honor earlier this week and various held Wednesday. "This community, in recent years and in recent days, has found a number of ways to honor their veterans," he continued, "and it is critically important to teach our children about the sacrifices that have been made."