'Bootprint' memorial dedicated at Highground

A crowd of military veterans and others gathered at The Highground Veterans Memorial Park on Saturday to dedicate “The Bootprint,” a memorial built in honor of all those who served in Afghanistan, Iraq and throughout the Middle East over the past 15 years.  Pat Mateer, an Iraq War veteran from Abbotsford, salutes during a roll call of fallen soldiers as part of Saturday’s ceremony.Gold Star Mother Celeste Kauffman of Colby, who lost her son, Charles, in the Iraq War, speaks to the crowd Saturday in front of a map of the Middle East that is part of “The Bootprint” memorial.Vietnam War veteran Skip Sparks of Abbotsford leads a roll call on Friday for men and women killed in Persian Gulf.

From the sky and even gazing down from the plaza apex of The Highground veterans memorial near Neillsville, the new tribute to veterans of recent Persian Gulf conflicts is seen as a large footprint, a symbol of the lasting imprint made by U.S. veterans in the Middle East over the last 15 years.
Its simple name — The Bootprint — belies the detailed symbolism carried in each design element of the tribute, from the meaning behind the four statues to the placement of the concrete barriers that form the lugs of the boot.

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