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Red Arrow Park rededicated during restoration project

A rededication ceremony was held at Red Arrow Park Saturday, July 15, 2017 in Manitowoc. (WLUK/Jessie Basinski)

MANITOWOC (WLUK) -- Veterans and community members help restore a Manitowoc park dedicated to soldiers that fought in the 32nd Infantry Division, known as the Red Arrow Brigade.

The Red Arrow Brigade was formed nearly 100 years ago, on July 18, 1917. Units came from Wisconsin and Michigan. The Division served on the front line during World War I.

Command Sgt. Maj. Edgar Hansen grew up in Manitowoc and spent the majority of his life in the military. When he returned from the Iraq War, he noticed the Red Arrow Park slowly deteriorating.

"The canons were rusted. There's no red arrow. The signs are gone, there was a red arrow there and if you didn't know what it meant, you didn't' know the history behind it," Hansen said.

Hansen was afraid the city forgot about the meaning behind the park. He formed a group called Friends of Red Arrow in hopes to repair the area.

"This is really the beginning," Hansen said. "We sandblasted the canons; we repainted them; we put red arrows on them."

The group is selling memorial bricks and trees to help fund for another military equipment piece. They also plan to display an artistic memorial made of Valders limestone and red granite.

"It's going to be sculpted and they're going to be open. So when the sun comes up on July 18th, the sun is going to shine down the arrow."

Manitowoc Mayor Justin Nickels is glad that families can now come to the park and learn the significance behind the red arrow.

"I think having this rededication reinvigorates the meaning of the park for the community," Mayor Nickels said.

Hansen reminds the community that it's not only about honoring those who serve.

He said, "it’s just not the soldiers that put on the uniform. It's those families that stay home and take care of everything they need to take care of when they’re gone."

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