Highground to host Operation Welcome Home

Combat veterans visit the new Persian Gulf Tribute at The Highground Veterans Memorial Park near Neillsville. “The Bootprint,” as it’s called, will be dedicated at a ceremony on July 23. The Wall of Remembrance, seen here in 2014 at The Highground, will return to the veterans memorial park later this month for Operation Persian Gulf Welcome Home, July 18-25.

For the past several decades, this nation has sent men and women to serve in the Middle East and Persian Gulf region. Thousands of these military men and women have lost their lives while serving. Thousands more have returned home with physical and psychological scars.
For some, the mental preparedness that kept them and those around them safe during multiple combat tours has hardened and has become a hindrance to resuming relationships and stepping back into the life “back home.”
To address these issues and more, The Highground Veterans Memorial Park near Neillsville will hold Operation Persian Gulf Welcome Home, July 19-25. This event is meant to have far-reaching and long-lasting effects.
During the Welcome Home, the men and women who have served and those currently serving will be honored. Families and friends will join together at The Highground to honor and remember the sons, daughters, husbands, wives, brothers and sisters in arms who lost their lives on distant foreign soil, and also those whose lives were lost after returning home because of their service.
Each day of the Welcome Home will be filled with ceremonies, displays, speakers and informational booths for veterans, families and all who support them.
The event begins with a 250-mile escort of The Wall of Remembrance from Madison on July 18.
Daily ceremonies will focus on separate combat regions (Desert Storm, Iraq and Afghanistan) and topics. Welcome Home speakers include combat veterans, community members and Gold Star mothers and fathers.
Many musical artists will perform free of charge, including Madison Rising, Keith Pulvermacher, Maggie Mae Hilliard and Vets for Freedom.
Special guest speakers include Bobby Henline and Shilo Harris, veterans physically wounded during their service in Operation Iraqi Freedom. They will be speaking to help other veterans and their families cope with difficulties they may be encountering.
The Persian Gulf Tribute will be dedicated on Saturday, July 23. A Family Day, Sunday, July 24, will feature free activities, inflatables for kids, a free family picnic supplied by Gordy’s Market and a movie on the big screen at dusk.
Notable displays during Operation Persian Gulf Welcome Home will include the 2016 Schneider “Ride of Pride” truck; “Fallen Angel” tribute truck; The Highground’s Big Maps of Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Afghanistan and the Vietnam War; “A Face for Every Name;” Field of Flags; photography services; Vet Center counselors; and many veterans organizations and services.
Many sponsors have made Operation Persian Gulf Welcome Home a reality.
Detailed information on the escort and daily events of Operation Persian Gulf Welcome Home can be found at www.thehighground.org and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/TheHighgroundVeteransMemorial/.
More information can also be found by contacting The Highground at 715-743-4224 or by email at highgrnd@tds.net.
The Highground is located at W7031 Ridge Rd., Neillsville.

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