WMC Celebrates 60 Years!
Soon after the end of WWII in 1945, a number of interested citizens and several professional organizations banded together to create a memorial to honor Milwaukee’s war dead. In 1947, a fund-raising drive was held and donations from individuals, corporations, and foundations raised $2,200,000.
Construction of the War Memorial Center began in 1955. It was formally dedicated on November 11, 1957. Milwaukee’s lake front has not been the same since. And if you have not visited the War Memorial in the past few years, you will be pleasantly surprised with all the improvements.
Working closely with our friends and neighbors at the Milwaukee Art Museum, Fitch Plaza has been expanded and it now leads you right up to the water’s edge for a breath-taking sight. There is also more room for weddings, military ceremonies, or just a quiet stroll with a loved one with an open-air view of Lake Michigan that is unparalleled. Of course, the main reason for any visit to our place is to honor our veterans. We have recently added the names of thirteen local heroes who lost their lives in wars fought since Vietnam. They now join those who were in killed in WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam. Engraved in our Honor Roll are the names of 3,481 Milwaukee County residents who have died in service to our country in the past 100 years.
In 2016 alone, we added additional staff and new members to the Board of Trustees to handle the increase in the operational tempo of the organization. With new tours, symposiums, book signings, displays, etc. the staff and Board is prepared to ensure your visit is informative, memorable, and patriotic. As we stood in front of the new incredible Eternal Flame, the water fall, and the Reflecting Pool, and as we viewed the names on the Honor Roll we could not help but feel the loss their families have experienced. As a result, we added a wonderful memorial to the Gold-Star Families.
We also added a “Missing Man” table to keep those who are prisoners of war (POW) and missing in action (MIA) in the public eye; we held a musical tribute to Vietnam vets with 400-500 attendees, and; we held a cutting edge cyber security conference for local businesses and citizens. Finally, by June 1,, 2017, the exterior of the building will be completely restored to its original appearance-a major accomplishment!
Yes, our first 60 years were great, and we thank our community and financial supporters for standing by us through some tough times. Yes, the sun is shining down upon us now and things are going well. Our Board of Trustees is very pleased with our progress over the past few years. However, after reviewing the plans we have for 2017 and beyond, I assure you – you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!
Come visit your new War Memorial Center soon. I promise you will like what we have done to the place.