Friday, November 10, 2017

Richland County Veterans Memorial

By Joann M. Ringelstetter

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On October 15th of this year, Ruth and I started our day of photography at first light in the city of Richland Center, Wisconsin. After photographing several old buildings, we decided to stop at the Richland County Veterans Memorial for the first time. This memorial is sandwiched between Highway 14 and the edge of a commercial area, so we didn’t think it was going to be much of a photo opportunity. But we were wrong!

The mission of the Richland County Veteran’s Memorial Committee, formed in 2003, is “to honor Veterans of Richland County, Wisconsin…those who have served, those who are serving, and those who will serve.”

According to their website, the memorial “lists names of individuals who have been military personnel of a war, conflict, or in peacetime, a resident of Richland County at some period in their life and who have been honorably discharged by the military.”

I was happy to see that it also honors war dogs.

This veterans memorial is very unique and it is one of the nicest memorials I’ve ever seen. There are 11 granite monuments arranged in chronological order by date and war, starting with the War of 1812.

Each monument has a unique design and each one causes you to stop and reflect, such as this monument honoring World War I veterans.

Or this one honoring Vietnam War veterans.

I didn’t know the story behind this veterans memorial until I had spent a half-hour among the monuments and was heading back through the arched entrance on my way back to the car. It was then that I noticed a plaque honoring Mariel Beeman Kepler, who was a Richland County resident for her entire life.

During World War II, Mariel attended Richland Center High School and collected all the local newspaper articles about Richland County servicemen, which she put in scrapbooks. Years later, her husband, Downing, who had served in World War II, urged her to organize and share her scrapbook information.

In 2004, Mariel’s book, entitled “World War II – News of Our Men and Women in Service, Richland County, Wisconsin: A Scrapbook Collection,” was accepted into the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. And the sales of this book contributed to the creation of the Richland County Veterans Memorial.

In October, 2014, at the age of 89, Mariel saw her dream for a Richland County veterans memorial fulfilled when she visited the newly completed Richland County Veterans Honor Roll, traveling its paved walkways in her wheelchair. Unfortunately, Mariel passed away in January, 2015, just five months prior to the final dedication of this very special memorial.

This memorial honors over 8,300 Richland County Veterans, including those in the National Guard Reserves. When I think about that number for just one county in one state, it makes my head spin to think of the number of veterans across the country. And as I write this on the eve of Veterans Day, it also makes me even more grateful for the service to our country of all veterans, past, present, and future.

The Richland County Veterans Memorial is located at 450 S Main Street in Richland Center, Wisconsin.

Photos in this blog post can be purchased as wall art, paper prints, downloads, phone cases, and keepsakes by clicking on the photo. You will be taken to the gallery website where you will see a big blue "BUY" button. Or to see all photos available, click on the "Browse Galleries" button on the menu at the top of this page. Thank you for your interest!

Happy Shunpiking!


  1. Perfect for the Day! Happy Veteran's/Remembrance Day to you! What Wonderful Tribute!

    1. Thanks, Stephanie, same to you. If you're ever in Richland Center, check out this memorial. It's quite a tribute to veterans.

  2. I had no idea that Richland Center has such a beautiful veterans memorial. We will put this on our list of places to visit. Thanks for sharing this story and the photos.

    1. Thanks, Phyllis. We knew it was there, but had no idea it was that big and so impressive. And it was really special to find out about Mariel and her World War II scrapbooks.