Five months ago, a soldier from our area died in the line of duty. Now his name has been engraved on a memorial, to be remembered forever.
27-year-old Marshfield native Staff Sgt. Joseph Altmann was killed during an attack on Christmas Day in Afghanistan, while serving in the U.S. Army.
Dozens of members of Altmann's family attended the ceremony that was touching and emotional.
It was the first time they saw his name on the Wood County Veterans Memorial.
"Today we have the sad duty of adding another hero's name to this beautiful memorial," Wood County Veterans Memorial Committee member Jim Reigel said.
That hero was Staff SGT. Joseph Altmann. He was killed during an insurgent attack in Afghanistan.
"I think words escape me right now. It was so amazing to have 98 percent of my family here, with our Army shirts with support from the community," Joseph Altmann's sister Kristen Altmann said.
Altmann's family says Memorial Day has always been important to them. But now, it touches them even more.
"Now it has a special meaning that it's our grandson, who gave his life for his country," Joseph Altmann's grandmother Geraldine Altmann said.
Now, Altmann's name joins the list of more than 400 others who made the ultimate sacrifice. He died on Christmas Day, serving as a medic in the Army.
"His name is on the back and it kind of hits you again, starting all over. Today's the five month anniversary of the day we lost him, so it's kind of like starting over again," Kristen Altmann said.
"True heroes never die. They just leave before goodbye," Reigel said.
Altmann's family traced his name. They say it is another reminder of the kind of person he was.
"I think everybody will remember Joe as a kind and gentle person," Geraldine Altmann said.
"Very moving, very emotional, but so proud to be here right now," Kristen Altmann said.
As Altmann's family was standing outside the Wood County Courthouse in Wisconsin Rapids, an eagle flew over after the ceremony.
Altmann's family told me that was their loved on checking in on them one more time.
Cool and bright Wednesday. Light snow likely Thursday night. A storm may hit Saturday.
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