Honoring those who serveWith two trial runs out of the way, members of the Superior Moose Lodge 606 are ready for the real deal.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
With two trial runs out of the way, members of the Superior Moose Lodge 606 are ready for the real deal.
Saturday, they will raise a flag beside the lodge for veterans from every branch of the service as part of Armed Forces Day. The public is invited to the 9 a.m. event at the lodge, 66 E. Fifth St.
“Armed Forces Day is just another day on the calendar for a lot of people,” said Vietnam veteran Loren Byberg, governor of the lodge. But the purpose of the holiday, proclaimed in 1950 by President Harry Truman, is to salute the men and women in all branches of the service.
“It is a day to fly a flag and to share, as a family, fond feelings for the powerful force that seeks to preserve peace in the world,” said retired Sgt. 1st Class Thomas “Butch” Liebaert, a member of the Wisconsin National Guard’s former 724th Headquarters Battalion in Superior.
Prior to 1950, each branch of the service had its own day of celebration. Armed Forces Day promotes camaraderie and honor for all.
“It’s a time to take a moment and remember the people who served their county and what they served for,” Liebaert said. “If it wasn’t for them, we might not have the freedoms we do now.” It is also, he said, a good reminder for people that Memorial Day is on its way.
Bob Bentley and David Larson, members of the Moose Lodge, planted the flagpole less than two months ago. Old Glory and the Wisconsin state flag will fly day and night in the lighted place of honor, Byberg said. On holidays, the state flag will be replaced by the POW flag.
“I think it’s a great honor for everybody,” said Pat Remington, lodge treasurer and Vietnam veteran.
The Moose organization is built on the cornerstones of charity, loyalty, hope and faith. Locally, lodge 606 donates to a Superior High School scholarship, the Salvation Army, area food pantries and animal rescue.
“It’s just a fun, family-oriented organization,” Remington said.
For a while last month, the Superior lodge led the state in new memberships … until Racine took over, Byberg said.
Members of the Richard I. Bong American Legion Post 435 will raise the flag. Liebaert has been tapped to speak. Refreshments will be available in the Moose hall, renovated following a 2010 fire. Hopefully the weather will be good for the flag raising, they said.
“I think it’s just an honorable thing to do,” Byberg said. “You’re not pointing a finger at one person or branch of service.” Instead, you remember them all.
And it sets the stage for Memorial Day, May 27. Liebaert encouraged people to make it a day of remembrance, not just vacation.
In preparation for the holiday, Liebaert and volunteers of all ages, from World War II veterans to school children, will be planting flags at the graves of Superior veterans May 23. Together, they will set out close to 7,000 flags at five cemeteries. Anyone interested in helping out can contact Liebaert at 715-398-3152. Volunteers will begin planting flags at Greenwood Cemetery about 9 a.m. May 23 and continue until they are done.