Memorial Service at Veterans Memorial Park marks 10th annual Jeddyfest in Brighton

October 13, 2021
In The News

BRIGHTON — The 10th annual Jeddyfest in Brighton kicked off with the usual 5K run, but ask anyone and they’ll say it was the annual memorial service at the Veterans Monument Park that was the highlight of the day’s events.

Featuring comments from government representatives and a dedication prayer by the Rev. Russell Arnett, the ceremony featured a flag formerly flown over the U.S. Capitol and given to the community by U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil raised by veterans and park organizers John Willkomm, Claude Welker and Dan Durkin, accompanied by the singing of the national anthem.

“Brighton is a small community and because it’s a small community, we can take one day and remember the people who served,” said Sue Crane, Town of Brighton chairperson. The past and present are linked as “our neighborhoods, our community is special. It means respect, it means shared interests and a shared goal.”

Part of that goal was developing a central place in 2016 where both residents and visitors could stop to reflect and remember those who served, and those who gave their lives for their country.

Beginning with a single monument built in 1921 commemorating Civil War and earlier veterans, the park was then expanded in 2016 to include a second monument dedicated to World War II veterans and a wall commemorating veterans of conflicts from Korea to Afghanistan. A paved walk and seating area includes bricks and benches engraved in the memory of other fallen soldiers.

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The beauty and importance of the monuments was not lost on first-time visitors like Amanda Nedweski and Norm Pratt.

“I’m utterly impressed by this,” said Nedweski, of Moms for Liberty, who came out to show her support. “It’s beautiful just to see how much it means to the people.”

“It speaks to the importance of our military and of those who have served,” said Pratt, whose brother served. “We try to get out and support our vets.”

“This monument in Brighton is a reminder of the dedication of those young men and women who served their country,” said Steil. “The monument is also a reminder that they are protecting our liberties into the future.”

The meaning of the monument was not lost on local veterans like Willkomm, who served stateside in the Vietnam War era. “We are free today because of those veterans who fought,” he said. “I’m proud to support my veteran brothers and proud to be a veteran.”

In addition to the memorial service, the 10th annual Jeddyfest, sponsored by Jeddy’s Bar, included a 5K run, live music and games. The $20 entry fee and donations for the run will be donated to the Aurora Cancer Foundation. Last year’s event raised over $2,600.

First and second place winners for the 5K run received gift cards. First place winners included Randy Wacek of Fond du Lac, as well as Char Wacek, Kim Gillmore of Wheatland, and Julie Jensen of Pleasant Prairie, who came in together.

IN PHOTOS: Flag dedication at Brighton War Memorial

From Washington to Brighton

From Washington to Brighton

Residents gather Monday afternoon as U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil, R-Wis., delivered a U.S. flag that was flown over the Capitol to the Brighton War Memorial. State Rep. Samantha Kerkman, R-Salem Lakes, joined Steil to deliver the flag to Connie Erdman and members of the Brighton War Memorial Board. The Brighton War Memorial, located on 240th Avenue (Highway X), was built in 1921 in remembrance of Brighton’s fallen Civil War and World War I soldiers. The first monument included the names of 68 men from Brighton who died during the Civil War and the 37 men who died in World War I. In 2016, private funds were raised to expand the memorial to honor veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

Submitted photo

Flag dedication at Brighton War Memorial

Flag dedication at Brighton War Memorial

State Rep. Samantha Kerkman, R-Salem Lakes, right, joined Congressman Bryan Steil, left, to deliver the flag to Connie Erdman of Brighton and members of the Brighton War Memorial Board on Aug. 9, 2021.

Submitted photo

Flag dedication at Brighton War Memorial

Flag dedication at Brighton War Memorial

Brighton residents join State Rep. Samantha Kerkman, R-Salem Lakes, and Congressman Bryan Steil, at the Brighton War Memorial Board on Aug. 9, 2021, to celebrate the delivery of a flag that flew over the U.S. Capitol.

Submitted photo

Flag dedication at Brighton War Memorial

Flag dedication at Brighton War Memorial

Congressman Bryan Steil joins others in getting out of the rain following the dedication of a U.S. flag that flew over the U.S. Capitol to the Brighton War Memorial on Monday, Aug. 9, 2021, in Brighton.

Flag dedication at Brighton War Memorial

Flag dedication at Brighton War Memorial

State Rep. Samantha Kerkman, R-Salem Lakes, center, joined Congressman Bryan Steil, third from right, to deliver a U.S. flag to Connie Erdman of Brighton and members of the Brighton War Memorial Board on Monday, Aug. 9, 2021. Steil requested that a flag be flown over the U.S. Capitol, which was then presented to the Brighton War Memorial Committee. Community members gathered to attend the flag presentation ceremony on Aug. 9.

Submitted photo
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