A new walkway and monument honoring the service of J.I. Case High School alumni veterans was dedicated at a special ceremony Thursday.
The walkway and monument are a tribute to their patriotic sacrifice and the sacrifice of their loved ones.
Veteran and Case High School teacher Mark Peterson, along with members of the class of 1971, dedicated a brand new brick walkway leading to and around the school’s flagpole. Of the 3,000 bricks making up this newly dedicated path, 18 have already been engraved with the names of service men and women and 25 to 30 are out being engraved.
At the event were local community members including Racine Mayor John Dickert, County Executive Jim Ladwig, Mount Pleasant President James Majdoch, Case Principal Jeff Eben and Racine Unified School District Superintendant Ann Laing. Members of local Veteran organizations, J.I. Case High School Class of 1971 and the County Board were also present.
Eben said he believes that this dedication is an opportunity to celebrate stories as well as keep those stories alive.
“I am really proud of one Veteran from the class of 1978 who continues to serve his community here at Case High School, who put this all together – Mr. Mark Peterson,” stated Eben.
Peterson has had a passion for honoring his fellow Veterans, especially within the school. Once the idea for the walkway arose, he, along with the help of others, was determined to make it happen.
"A few people commented that it would be nice to have a decent sidewalk leading to the flagpole," Peterson explained. "That got my wheels going and I approached Mr. Jeff Eben with a new idea. A tribute walkway dedicated to Alumni veterans. And away we go."
The group started selling bricks that had the names of alumni, the year they graduated, and their branch of service at the end of the school year. Former students from the class of 1971 contacted the group and offered to pay for the plaque to dedicate to the veterans.
Ladwig expressed his appreciation, tying the veterans' service and sacrifices to the American experiment.
“A couple days ago, we had an election. Everybody’s complaining about all of the phone calls they’re getting,” Ladwig said. “But really, it is the men and women who have served our country that allow us to have the greatest country in the world and the fact that we get the opportunity to pick our leaders.
“We can never honor our Veterans enough.”
Dickert had a request for citizens, “I am going to ask the citizens to do something that you probably don’t do on a regular basis. And that is whenever you see them (Veterans), say thank you. Whether it is on the street, at an airport, a coffee shop – just take a couple seconds from your life to say ‘thank you.'”
Majdoch said we must do whatever we can to make the transition home as seamless for veterans as humanly possible.
"We must pledge our unconditional support to the injured and disabled who return home to a life altered forever,” Majdoch said.
For anyone interested in having a brick engraved for the walkway, please visit casealumniveterans.com to download an order form. Or visit the school in person to get a form from the office.