War dead are remembered in the May 29, 1946, edition of the Wausau Daily Record-Herald.
1946: City observes first post-war Memorial Day
Wausau's 1946 Memorial Day speaker called for courage in the post-war world, as reported in the May 30, 1946, edition of the Wausau Daily Record-Herald.
William R. Kenney of Marshfield, past state commander of the American Legion, had been the speaker at services in Pine Grove Cemetery the previous morning. He "expressed grave concern over debts, discords and the state of the nation's resources," the paper reported.
Wausau's first Memorial Day observance after World War II began with the placing of flowers and wreaths on war monuments as part of a program at Courthouse Park, then a parade from there to Pine Grove.
In his speech, Kenney invited his listeners to "take stock of themselves on this day of meditation, ... and ask themselves if their conduct and utterances are worthy of the sacrifices that so many of America's sons and daughters have made."
He urged "a prayer for leadership in this hour of need" as the country settled into life after the war and faced the menace of Russian communism. "Shall we return to the plan originally conceived by the moulders of this republic, ... or will we allow the sinister influences that are now sapping the life blood of the nation, destroying America's faith in democracy, to continue unchallenged until all is lost," Kenney asked his hearers.
"Our people are quarreling among themselves, labor and industry with wide variance of opinions, people who should know better crying for government operation and control of many of our major industries, greed, distrust and discontent with individuals and groups trying to outdo each other, bickering for position and undermining the faith of the American people in our democratic system," Kenney said.
Besides Kenney's remarks, the cemetery program included the high school band playing the national anthem, three volleys by a Sea Scout firing squad, "Taps" played by John Reichart and a benediction by the Rev. Brainard F. Gibbons, pastor of the First Universalist church, the paper reported.