KING - "I'm honored just to be here, for what the monument is," explained Vietnam Veteran and Medal of Honor recipient Gary Wetzel.
A Wisconsin Medal of Honor recipient reflects on a new memorial in the state.
Friday, the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs dedicated the monument.
It stands in front of the Wisconsin Veterans Home in King.
The memorial honors all Wisconsin service members who received the nation's highest military honor.
In 1861, Congress established the award as the highest military award for bravery and supreme valor demonstrated by a member of the Armed Forces of the United States.
Dozens of area veterans and residents turned out for the ceremony, including Wetzel. He was a guest speaker at the ceremony.
"I not only wear it for me, but I wear it for everyone, just a caretaker and just a soldier doing his job," Wetzel said.
The U.S Army veteran Gary Wetzel is one of the names etched on the stone. Wetzel served as a helicopter door gunner.
On January 8th, 1968, Wetzel's helicopter was shot down.
Critically wounded, he managed to ward off enemy fire and helped save several of his crewmates. Ten months later, he was honored for his heroic actions.
"President Johnson is the one that put this around my neck," Wetzel explained.
61 other Wisconsin Veterans received the same blue ribbon and medal, dating as far back as the Civil War.
Veterans Affairs officials say there are only four recipients still living in Wisconsin. This new monument brings both joy and honor.
"My dad always says he just did what anyone else would do in that situation and he wears the medal to represent all veterans and we are so thankful and grateful for their service to this country," explained Mary Ingman, Daughter of Wisconsin Medal of Honor recipient, Einar Ingman, Jr.
"There's a lot of people that have gone before me that have paid the ultimate sacrifice and to be able to be alive and to be here for what it is and here in King, Wisconsin, Wisconsin Veterans home, what better place," Wetzel said.
Officials with the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs say this is only a "small token" of thanks.
But it's a long-standing symbol, so no one forgets the deeds these veterans have done.
"Some of the guys I pulled out would come up to my bunk and say, are you Gary Wetzel? I'd say yea, and they would pull out a picture of their wife or their kids or their girlfriend and say, hey, because of you, that's what I get to go home to, and that's what this medal means to me," Wetzel said.
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