The Ultimate Sacrifice

You’reĀ  probably expecting in this space today a dissection of Wisconsin’s swing counties in Tuesday’s elections or an analysis about the discerning Wisconsin voter who votes for Democrats for President and U.S. Senate while simultaneously electing an all-Republican State Legislature. Instead, I want to use my time today to write about sacrifice.

Pvt. Ryan J. Larson

A year ago, I posted in this space about going to Adams-Friendship High School for a Veterans Day tribute to a former student there, Ryan Larson. His friends knew him as an outgoing, funny guy with a non-stop motor. He was the the 2010 school class president, an honor-roll student, a wrestler, band member and a track team member.

But the reason I teamed up with WITI-TV Chief Photographer Jim Wilson to go there on Nov. 11, 2011 was to honor the sacrifice of 19-year-old Private Ryan J. Larson, killed in Afghanistan just a few months earlier, and to see how a community that had not lost a soldier since the Vietnam War was doing.

Here’s the story we produced, edited by WITI-TV Chief Editor Dave Michuda.

His grandmother told us that day that while Ryan paid the ultimate sacrifice, “it’s us down here making it too.”

I’m asking you to honor his memory this Sunday, Veterans Day, when Ryan’s story will be featured in a documentary aired on The Wisconsin Channel at 7:00 p.m. The 90-minute program is called V-Day 11.11.11 and includes stories featuring our nation’s veterans that were all gathered last year on the day we set aside to honor the men and women who serve.

The extremely talented storytellers on this project take you all over the country: inside a VA hospital, to a Civil War battlefield, to a quarry that produced the marble for the Tomb of the Unknowns, to rehab with a veteran learning to function again without legs, to a show and tell with Grandpa Veteran and so much more.

Here’s the trailer:

The program is airing on PBS stations around the country. In addition to showing it on Veterans Day itself, The Wisconsin Channel will air it twice more: on Monday, Nov. 12 at 6:30 p.m. and on Thursday, Nov. 15 at 1:00 a.m.

Further, there will be a showing at the Adams Community Theater on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday nights at 7:00 p.m. That’s located at 157 South Main Street in Adams.

Veterans Day was created at the end of World War I, which was described at the time as “the war to end all wars.” That didn’t happen and many more have since sacrificed their lives for freedoms like the one we enjoyed on Tuesday.

That’s what I’ll be thinking about this Sunday when viewers around the country meet the outgoing, funny former class president, Ryan Larson. Sadly, many of them will be able to relate to what his family and friends are going through.

For more information on the documentary, showings and the folks who worked on it, you can go to its website: http://www.veterans111111.com/

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One Response to The Ultimate Sacrifice

  1. Nancy Soth says:

    Thank you for this report, Adam. Because my father was in World War I, November 11 is always important to me. i am in Washington, DC today. We came in on a plane to Baltimore last night, and on that plane, accompanied by an army sergeant, was a flag-draped casket with a soldier coming home to his family, bringing home once again how often we forget this sacrifice. The pilot informed all of us that we were flying with an American hero; he gave us his name and the name of the sergeant who was accompanying him. For some reason I wanted to see the casket after we landed, come out of the airplane. I am not sure why–I hope not voyeurism but I wanted to be part of revering him and remembering him, as we should be with Ryan Larson as well. And so nice to have the surprise of no politics this night.

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