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Calumet banner project honors veterans

The project is designed to remind the community of the Copper Country veterans' sacrifices
Published: Sep. 21, 2020 at 5:35 PM EDT
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CALUMET, Mich. (WLUC) - If you walk or drive along the streets of Calumet, you’ll see these banners. The banners are a project by several veterans organizations to honor veterans from the copper country.

Project organizer Gene LaRochelle says when enlisting in the service, each veteran signed a blank check to the United States.

“In writing that blank check and handing it to his country essentially said, I’ll go wherever you want to serve my country,'” said LaRochelle. “I think this program really is a tribute to them and a way of honoring their service and saying, ‘thank you.’”

The veterans whose faces are on display throughout the village served in various branches of the military. Wars throughout the country’s history are also represented. LaRochelle says he was inspired to start the project after seeing a similar display in Ohio.

The group hopes the banner project serves as a reminder to the community of the tremendous sacrifices these veterans made.

“Vietnam vets had no reception when they came home,” said Marsha Klein, the sister of veteran Paul Pirkola. “Nobody did anything for them then. So it’s good they’re finally doing this.”

“We’re standing on this soil speaking English because of these guys,” banner crew member Mark Klein said. “That’s something that shouldn’t be forgotten by anybody.”

LaRochelle says most importantly, he hopes veterans will be impacted by this special project.

“I think for a lot of the veterans, as they see these banners, it will bring back a lot of memories and a great sense of pride,” he said. “That’s the whole purpose of the program.”

Anyone who would like to honor a veteran with a banner can contact the Houghton County Veterans Service Office.

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