Milwaukee Veterans Speak Up About the Meaning of Memorial Day

May 28, 2018

Memorial Day is more than just a day off of work. 

Veterans living at the non-profit Vets Place Central on 33rd and Wells spoke about what the holiday means to them.

Frederick Tolbert Jr. at Vets Place Central
Credit Maayan Silver

"It’s kind of a sad day for me," says Frederick Tolbert Jr, who served  in the U.S. Army from 1981-1987. "I actually hope all the time that it rains on that day. I’m being sort of selfish about this. I really want people to think about those people that passed away sacrificing their lives for us and that flag that’s up there, what it represents."

Darryl White at Vets Place Central
Credit Maayan Silver

"To me, it means the strength of the military," says Darryl White, U.S. Army veteran who served from 1979-1982. "Those who served before me, those who gave their lives so that we could have freedom and equality. [On Memorial Day] I visit all the memorial sites. I like to get with family and barbecue, tell old stories, remember those that served before me, how they gave their lives, and we go over their lives."

Carroll Marlin at Vets Place Central
Credit Maayan Silver

"Talk to veterans. That’s one thing [civilians] could do [to educate themselves on Memorial Day]," says Carroll Marlin, U.S. Navy Vietnam veteran. "Read about it! I mean, that’s what I do. I have a masters degree and I read about everything. People [should start] reading again or watch the History Channel."

Bernard Grosso at Vets Place Central

"I just try to relax and think about [fallen veterans] and think about the sacrifices they made," says Bernard Gosso, who was in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1974-1976. "I’m a member of the color guard, so I’ll be going to a cemetery to present some flags. That’s part of my giving back.”

Stevenson Williams at Vets Place Central
Credit Maayan Silver

"You're supposed to honor the dead by being joyful and doing positive things," says Stevenson Williams, U.S. Army veteran. "Not by laying around and mourning and stuff. They want you to get out and have fun and celebrate their past."