Friday, June 6, 2014

Wisconsin and the World War II Memorial

The World War II Memorial in Washington DC will be a busy place today, the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. I first visited the memorial about a week after it opened. It consists of a series of "mini" memorials to every state and every trust territory that fought in the war. On that first visit I instinctively sought out the Wisconsin mini memorial but quickly discovered that the states were not arranged alphabetically. In fact there seemed to be no pattern to them at all.

Frustrated I saw an old guy who was probably in his late 80s attached to a canister of oxygen and walking with the aid of a walker. He was wearing a University of Wisconsin t shirt and a Green Bay Packers cap (pretty solid evidence that he was a native born Cheesehead). Stopping him I said I was from Wisconsin and couldn't find our memorial. Not missing a beat he pointed over his shoulder and with a scowl on his face said "It’s over there - next to those fuckers from Minnesota."

Turns out the mini memorials are arranged according to when states were admitted to the Union. Wisconsin was admitted in 1848. Iowa admitted in 1846 was on one side of the Wisconsin memorial and Minnesota admitted in 1858 was on the other side of us. Oregon was admitted a year after Minnesota. I wish it had been two years earlier.

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