Thousands pay tribute to local veterans - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Thousands pay tribute to local veterans

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MERRILL (WAOW) -

Today, LeRoy Fischer remembers.

"I never saw battle, but I served with a lot of good men, good memories," Fischer says.

They're good memories of those who have served, like his father, Andy. Andy is one of the few surviving WWII veterans still living in Merrill.

"It is so great to see all these people, how thankful they are today," Andy Fischer says through tears, as he looks upon the thousands of people who came to St. Francis Cemetery in Merrill to pay their respects to our country's heroes.

"I never thought it was going to be this big of a day."

But, the Fischer family is also remembering someone who is not with them today.

"My grandson, Michael," LeRoy explains. "First one to be buried here, but it wasn't meant to be that way."

LeRoy's grandson died in March after fighting in Iraq.

"He was the guy that trained everybody," LeRoy explains.

But now, he lays to rest here. A place, his family says, is a place of honor.

"I'm so proud. You hate to see anybody that young leave us, but he's a casualty of war in our own home," LeRoy says.

And they weren't the only ones paying their respects. Thousands packed St. Francis Cemetery to watch the unveiling of the new Merrill Veterans Memorial. The memorial features more than 1,000 stones, each carved with the name of a local veteran who died serving our country.

"We all have one thing in mind; to do what we could do best for our country," LeRoy says.

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