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April 7, 2004

Dear All,

Here’s is Bill Sell’s take on the Soldier’s Home after a visit to it yesterday. Just take I94 west to VA exit, follow that road for about 1 minute and you’re in a sacred scene that will enrich Milwaukee for the ages. Does anyone know anyone running for Congress who would like to make this a key issue? Knocking down that Soldier’s Home Chapel is vastly more detrimental to our city’s soul than any flag burning by crazies.


Sell says…

OK Peace Activists, here is something we patriotic true blue American we can all dig in and help with.Support the troops has many meanings. Remembrance is the antidote to war. I visited the building today. It is central to the campus, with a tall steeple in a kind of colonial congregational style architecture. Needs work and love, certainly not privatization.

Thursday, April 8th, 10 am to 7 pm
Bill Sell

  • Leader of effort to save the magnificent Soldier’s Home Complex on V.A. Grounds, just to the wst of Miller Park

  • Site of “Re-enactment Military Battles” w. 4,000 participants last year, more expected in ‘0

    • June 5th & 6th for Reclaim Our Heritage Military Re-Enactments this year

  • VA serves 50,000 veterans per year

  • Saving the Soldier’s Chappel is eminently do-able and a generational


This Thursday, at 10 a.m. is a meeting of the Solder’s Home Foundation Board

	This complex is in danger of the bull dozer

  • This Thursday Pat Lynch would very much like to meet with any media

and preservation activists we can assemble, just about any time from
10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

April 7, 2004

Reminder for some! Invitation for all others!

We are planning on making a little spectacle on VA land on Opening Day to promote our event, welcome the public back to these historic grounds, raise awareness about the need to restore and preserve our district, especially the Chapel.

Come in period dress or “Save the Milwaukee Soldiers Home” t-shirts. (2004 shirts now available!) Park at Building 1. Walk with us to the north end of General MItchell Blvd. or join us at any time, 10 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Game starts at 3:05 p.m.

Spread the word! The more, the merrier.

Patricia A. Lynch
Harvest Graphics
5830 S. 92nd St.
Hales Corners, WI 53130–2219

This was e-mailed to Whitney Gould, 7:06 a.m. April 8, 2004

Veterans oppose VA center plan

They want buildings restored, not leased for commercial use


Last Updated: Dec. 11, 2003

Dozens of veterans, their descendants and war historians spoke in opposition Wednesday to plans by the federal government to turn several historic buildings on the Veterans Affairs Medical Center grounds - including the old Soldiers Home - into commercial developments.
Photo/Rick Wood
William Upham, whose father was governor of Wisconsin for two years and fought in the Civil War, advises officials to keep and restore buildings on the grounds rather than turn them into commercial developments.
Photo/Rick Wood
Veterans, officials and re-enactors expressed concern about plans to lease buildings on the Veterans Affairs Medical Center grounds during a public hearing Wednesday at the Veterans Affairs hospital. More than 100 gathered to learn more about the proposal.

Veterans Affairs officials say the move - mandated by Congress and officially known as the “enhanced use lease” plan - is necessary to meet the enormous and continuous demand for health care services for veterans.

They say the buildings and 37 acres of grounds targeted for commercial development all are vacant or underused and cost too much to maintain.

But to preservationists and the members of the various veterans groups who spoke at a public hearing Wednesday, the buildings are a precious part of the legacy of the state, the nation, and the thousands of soldiers who died in service to the country.

“The Department (of Veterans Affairs) cannot cannibalize its own heritage, or trample these hallowed grounds, because it seeks resources,” said Todd Hunter, a Madison-based attorney and son of a World War II veteran. “The most valuable resource (the department) possesses is the American history it represents.”

Hunter recommended using the land offered for development as an endowment to generate revenue for veterans. Others had similar recommendations, saying the buildings in question should be used as archives, libraries and the like for students and historians.

Besides Soldiers Home, the buildings targeted for development include a chapel and the Wadsworth Library, which is currently in use.

Not everyone spoke in opposition to the plan. Christine Jordan, president of the County Veterans Service Officers of Wisconsin - an advocacy group for veterans - said her group supports enhanced use because monetary resources for veterans are scarce.

“We are acutely aware of the huge demand for Veterans Affairs health care service,” Jordan said. “Much of the demand is unmet due to the financial constraints.”

Melinda Pugh, a representative from the VA’s Asset and Enterprise Division in Washington, D.C., gave a presentation in which she touted some of the “success stories” where commercial development has taken place on various VA grounds across the nation.

Underused buildings have been turned into assisted-living facilities or child care centers, providing services she and other federal officials said could be offered at a discount to veterans.

Pugh and Larry Wilson, a health system specialist for the Veterans Integrated Service Network in Chicago, regional headquarters for the VA in Wisconsin, said commercializing the land and properties in question would create a “win/win” situation, generating tax revenue and creating jobs while raising revenue for veterans.

But opponents, many dressed in military uniforms or period dress, didn’t see the enhanced use lease plan as a “win/win” situation as currently proposed.

They spoke about how Soldiers Home was one of three such facilities originally ordered by President Lincoln.

Evelyn Dick, of the Heritage Military Music Foundation 1st Brigade Band, wore 19th century dress and portrayed Cordelia Harvey, widow of Wisconsin Gov. Louis Harvey, who drowned during an accident while visiting Wisconsin troops in the South during the Civil War.

“These hospital grounds have served Civil War veterans as well as the veterans from subsequent wars,” Dick said. “I hope that these buildings can be utilized to tell the story of this hospital’s past as well as the stories of the men and women who entered its doors.”

From the Dec. 11, 2003 editions of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Over the next 12 minutes the same article was sent to this group:

Last edited by g.   Page last modified on December 13, 2004

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