While going from graduation to graduation to graduation to Memorial Day ceremony, this popped up:
Right call, wrong process: Having known Mike Lieurance back when I first worked in Grant County in 1988, I can say that the Grant County Board made the right choice by choosing him to replace Sup. Larry Wolf, who resigned because he moved out of District 9. Among other things, Lieurance served his country in the Wisconsin Army National Guard’s 229th Engineer Co. in Operation Desert Storm. That was how I got to do a phone interview with Lieurance from the Middle East at 6:30 on a weekend morning, after which I found out that a 15-minute collect call cost $48.
What the board did not do is choose Lieurance correctly, which is not Lieurance’s fault. A letter-writer on this page points out that the county board is 0 for 2 in recent board appointments. The letter-writer says Wolf’s position was never posted publicly. Then again, the previous board vacancy, back when Wolf was the county board chair, was filled improperly in closed session, because the state Open Meetings Law executive-session personnel provisions do not apply to those who aren’t government employees, and county supervisors are not county government employees.
Speaking of service: I covered Desert Storm (obviously from Grant County) as well as Operation Enduring Freedom — Afghanistan, the 229th’s deployment in 2012 and 2013. This comes to mind because Memorial Day has morphed in four different directions beyond the original intent of remembering our war dead, including being a sort of second Veterans Day. (The others, by the way, remembering family dead, high school and college graduations, and the unofficial start of summer.)
Often veterans are thanked for their service at Memorial Day ceremonies such as Platteville’s Monday morning. I read over the weekend on the Washington Post’s website a commentary from a veteran who said she didn’t want to be thanked for her service around Memorial Day because she survived, and Memorial Day is supposed to be about those who didn’t survive their military service. (Which, another writer pointed out, encompasses about 2 percent of the total in the services during war, including 15 percent of Civil War soldiers and 16 percent of Mexican War soldiers, most of whom died by causes other than battle.)
As a non-veteran who gets to take advantage of the freedoms others served and died to protect, I’m not going to say she’s wrong. It may be just the convenient opportunity presented by a ceremony held by veterans, along with the fact that weather on Memorial Day weekend is always better than on Veterans Day (which is one of those not-necessarily holidays since most people still work on Veterans Day). The writer wrote that non-veterans don’t know what the military experience is like, which makes sense. I’ve heard from and read enough about soldiers to conclude that many, if not most, soldiers’ first priority — and therefore the people they’re said to “die for” — is not our American ideals, but their fellow soldiers, called by William Shakespeare “we few, we happy few, we band of brothers,” except they include “sisters” too.
As I wrote when I explored the five-headed Memorial Day three years ago (which you can read at www.swnews4u.com/archives/5483), the best place to find the correct respect for the military and our war dead is in small towns. The names of Platteville’s servicemen and servicewomen and our war dead are located in the Veterans Honor Roll and in the memorial in City Park. You need not wait for Memorial Day or Veterans Day for that reminder.
Speaking of vacations: I wrote in this space a year ago about “sprummer,” the part of the year where the end of the school year collides with the beginning of summer activities. That includes youth baseball and softball, whose seasons began last week, even though last week’s weather couldn’t have been described by “spring,” “summer” or any other printable word.
Well, one aspect of “sprummer” needs to stop. At a time when the school year is ending and therefore students have end-of-the-year work to finish and exams to study for, to have kids playing non-postseason games out of town and therefore getting home late is bad academic practice. Sports practices, which are held at Legion Park and take up no more than an hour and a half, are one thing, but out-of-town games are not.
This is particularly a problem in the Platteville school district, where classes go deep into June, one week later than other school districts in the area. Either the school district’s schedule needs to end sooner (which probably means fewer days off during the school year, or possibly longer school days), or Platteville’s youth sports programs need to not schedule games until school is out. That in turn probably means schedules will go deeper in the summer, which poses potential conflicts with family vacations. That is a choice families will have to make.