BREWSTER — As Brewster hosts its annual Fun Days celebration in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the Brewster American Legion, a memorial wall will be on display at the community’s school to draw attention to the nation’s prisoners of war and missing in action.
Leo Voss of Fulda created the traveling exhibit years ago and has taken it on the road to many southwest Minnesota communities, as well as to Minneapolis and St. Paul, Sioux Falls, South Dakota and the Missouri cities of Springfield and Branson.
Years of research and effort went into making the display. Names of POWs and MIAs fill 27 4- by 8-foot AlumaCorr panels from the Korean War alone, with another 11 panels dedicated to the prisoners and missing soldiers in the Vietnam War. Minnesota’s World War II soldiers who are considered to have been POWs and MIAs fill five panels, Voss shared.
A Marine Corps veteran who served in Vietnam from 1965 to 1967, Voss created the wall because as he said, “Some gave all and some are still giving.”
“Our freedom’s not free,” he said. “A lot of Americans died in war and a lot of Americans are still held prisoners of war — they’re still held and are missing.”
Voss said the wall contains the names of several soldiers from the area, including two from Worthington, and men from Ellsworth, Adrian, Wilmont, Edgerton, Iona, Avoca, Slayton, Currie, Lakefield and many other small southwest Minnesota towns.
“Every one of these boys need some respect and recognition and the families need support, too,” Voss shared. “If I touch one heart per event, I’ve succeeded.”
The travelling wall will be displayed in the Brewster Elementary School’s two gyms, and will be open during the town celebration.
While people are in town to see the travelling wall, they’re welcome to stay and take in other events, including the American Legion’s centennial celebration, which had to be delayed a year due to the global pandemic in 2020.
The Brewster American Legion is hosting a pork chop feed from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday at the Legion Hall to mark its 100th anniversary. Meals are $10, with a kids hot dog meal offered for $3. Proceeds from the feed will go toward purchasing pavers to recognize World War I veterans in the community’s veterans memorial.