'Taken it upon ourselves:' WI Truck Takeover Enthusiasts place 5K flags at Wood National Cemetery

Andrew Kreblin

MILWAUKEE -- There was no public Memorial Day ceremony Monday, May 25 at Wood National Cemetery in Milwaukee as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Only the media and VA staff were allowed, but the cemetery stayed open so people could privately remember the true meaning of this day. Amid disappointment over the cancellation of this and other public ceremonies, the Wisconsin Truck Takeover Enthusiasts met in West Allis to honor those who have given their lives for our country.

"Since the VA has pretty much canceled it, we've taken it upon ourselves to do it," said Andrew Kreblin, organizer.

The Wisconsin Truck Takeover Enthusiasts paid tribute to the lives lost while serving our country -- coming together after COVID-19 disrupted Memorial Day plans.

"I have family members, friends that served," said Kreblin. "It should not be a day to just get thrown out just because you can't put flags out."

The group of about 50 gathered with decorated trucks and paraded through the streets, making their way to Wood National Cemetery, where they placed more than 5,000 flags on headstones.

"We have an opportunity to recognize and appreciate that sacrifice of the guys that gave their lives defending our ability to be free," said Fred Karol.

Karol donated 700 flags, and brought his wife and two of his children to help.

"Our veterans put everything on the line for us, and those that never came home," said Karol. "I think it's important that regardless of what's going on, that's what makes our nation free."

It was a solemn tribute from a group aiming to show in times like this, there are still people who care.

"A time in crisis, everybody tries to come together as best they can," said Karol.

This isn't the only kind act this group has done amid the coronavirus pandemic -- regularly gathering to surprise people for birthdays with truck parades. They said they're happy to help bring smiles to so many during this time.