People line streets of downtown Milwaukee to honor fallen; 'People recognize your service'

MILWAUKEE -- Across the country, Americans gathered to honor those who died while serving in our country's military. For the 153rd year, Milwaukee's Memorial Day rolled through the streets of downtown.

Chuck Wallens

91-year-old Chuck Wallens saw a lot in the U.S. Army from 1944 to 1970, retiring as a lieutenant colonel. He is the parade's Veteran of the Year.

"I was in Korea, I was in Vietnam," Wallens said. "People recognize your service."

Of course, not everyone came home. Colleen Lemke of Hartford's son Jason died in Iraq. Janice Dahlke of Milwaukee lost her son Randy in Vietnam.

"We do support one another," Lemke said.

Milwaukee Memorial Day parade

"Freedom is not free," Dahlke said. "You have to give thanks to the men that gave all."

Milwaukee Memorial Day parade

People who lined Wisconsin Avenue had different reasons for being there.

"This is my first time seeing the parade," said Zariyah Smith.

The Smith family was shopping and found out about the parade.

"I thank them. I thank them for everything they've done. This country has come a long way and I want to thank them for everything they've done," said Keisha Smith.

Milwaukee Memorial Day parade

The parade ended at the War Memorial on Milwaukee's lakefront -- to remember prisoners of war and those missing in action.