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LAKE MILLS | Just north of Lake Mills Main Street is a Veterans Memorial that is second to none.

Located in Arlington Veterans Park, the Veterans Memorial was built in 2004 to ensure local veterans from any war would not be forgotten, said Lake Mills business owner Leon Christianson.

"I always wanted to do something to pay tribute to our veterans," said Christianson, 57, chairman of the Veterans Monument Committee. "Some veterans tell me it has changed their lives just to know they are not forgotten."

Christianson was not involved in any war, although his father served in World War II and his brother served in Vietnam.

The X-shaped monument consists of four brick walls, 10½ feet long and 6½ feet high, in the middle of the park. Bricks contain the names of veterans, dates of service and major conflicts in which they participated, if any.

"It gave it a personal touch," Christianson said.

To date, 1,234 veterans have been included, Christianson said.

The walls are topped with four inches of black granite that came from the same mine as the National Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Later, a memorial stone bearing the names and some photographs of local veterans killed in action was installed. Twenty-two Lake Mills veterans, going back as far as the Civil War, are memorialized here.

School children and caravans of care center residents visit the memorial each year, Christianson said.

"It's really a treasure for our town."

The Lake Mills Foundation contributed generously to the project, which also included refurbishment of a World War II-era Sherman tank on display in the park. It was relocated next to the monument.

In honor of Memorial Day, 124 U.S. flags are being flown at the park, which was about as many flags as the park could accommodate, Christianson said.

On Memorial Day, members of the Otto-Chose American Legion Post 235 will march from the Arlington Veterans Park beginning at 9:30 a.m. to the Lake Mills High School Auditorium, where a Memorial Day program will be held at 10 a.m.

Gladys Biehl, wife of Lake Mills World War II veteran Richard Biehl, will be guest speaker.

A salute to deceased veterans will follow the program.

There will be a 21-gun salute and taps.

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