I am honored to be the Senate author of legislation that will make State Highway 21 from Sparta to Oshkosh, through Necedah, a Purple Heart Memorial Highway.  Representative Tony Kurtz (R-Wonewoc) and I authored this legislation at the request of the Necedah VFW. We think it is important to create this permanent memorial to honor all of our veterans who have been wounded, injured or killed as a direct result of enemy action while serving in our armed forces.

This bill has passed both houses of the legislature and is now on the Governor’s desk for signature.  Rep. Kurtz and I invited the Governor to sign the bill in Necedah on Veterans Day with us and we hope he takes us up on our offer.

This legislation is a small way to say “thank you” for the sacrifice and bravery of the men and women who have served our country. Wisconsin citizens have shown, again and again, that we are ready and willing to fight for our freedom and to defend our country. We should always be ready and willing to honor our veterans in any way that we can.

As we recognize Veterans Day on November 11, 2021, I am proud to have authored this bill as one more way to remind citizens throughout our state of the great sacrifices made by those who serve. The Purple Heart Highway will remind us of this service and encourage us to extend a word of “thanks” to those we see along our journey.

In the State Legislature, before each floor session begins, we do two things: we pray to the God that created all of us, and we pledge allegiance to our flag.

When I say this pledge, I think about all of the men and women who have served our nation and fought to protect our way of life. I think about the young people in our communities who will inherit our legacies. I think about the families I serve, working hard every day to grow the next generation while doing their work and serving each other in many different ways. Above all, I think about service and how each of us needs to dedicate a part of our lives to protecting and promoting freedom.

Regardless of our race, religion or political beliefs, we Americans continue to defend freedom – generation after generation – all over the world.  We defend freedom because we know that democracy is a fragile thing.

I have a sign in my office that is one of President Ronald Reagan’s greatest quotes.  It is a daily reminder of my role in protecting our freedoms.

It says, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from its extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”

Veterans Day is the perfect day to remind every generation, young and old, about the price for our freedom. We must tell the stories of our veterans. We must show our respect. We must live as examples for future generations who will take our mantle of freedom and march forward.

My father served in the Marine Corps in World War II before I was born. While we milked cows on our farm, he would tell me about the men he served with and his experiences. He would tell me stories of honor, heroism and camaraderie. He imparted in me a deep sense of patriotism and service.

At the time, I didn’t realize how important these stories and lessons were. I didn’t understand how much these ideas would form me into the man I am today. I am grateful for his service and for his willingness to teach me about the things that make our country great, but I never said “thanks” for his service to our nation because he was my dad.

Today – I thank every veteran for your service and sacrifices. Thank you!

For more information and to connect with me, visit my website http://legis.wisconsin.gov/senate/17/marklein and subscribe to my weekly E-Update by sending an email to [email protected]gov. Do not hesitate to call 800-978-8008 if you have input, ideas or need assistance with any state-related matters.

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