Greenwood, Wisconsin's Peace Memorial

Transcribed by Stan & Janet Schwarze.


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Dr. R. L. Barnes, postmaster and president of the Commercial Club at Greenwood, was master of ceremonies. John Wuethrich presided at the banquet in the evening attended by 250 people.

Senator Walter J. Rush in his speech brought greetings from Gov. Phil LaFollette, Assemblyman Victor W. Nehs, Mayor Fred Stelloh, Attorney A. L. Devoes, James Fradette, Joe Krause, T. F. McDonald, Hugh McGwin, George E. Rude and Elmer Anderson also spoke. Other speakers were Col. Fred T. Cruse of the U. S. Army, Mayor Ed Buker of Greenwood and others. On the musical program were Myron Duncan, Rosemarie Durig, Mrs. Herbert Schwarze, Lloyd Smith and Allen Wuethrich.

Rep. Merlin Hull of Black River Falls, who spoke both afternoon and evening said, probably nothing has happened in Clark County since the World War to bring so many together in honor of such a cause.


A rough statue and foundation was built at its present site by a Greenwood cement contractor, George Caliebe who placed a nine foot cube of solid concrete made of standard gray cement beneath the surface of ground. In this base was a cavity. An elderly carpenter constructed a box and the book Greenwood, Hub of Clark County, Wisconsin 1844 to 1934 was placed in it before it was stored inside the foundation. The statue is monolithic in design as all appendages were pre-constructed to leave the least amount of sculpturing for Prof. Durig. The complete statue above ground was then covered with white cement. At no place could the cement be less than three inches in depth as any less could have resulted in exposure of the gray cement underneath when the carving took place. The white composition was shipped to Clark County from Illinois.

Psalm 121: I will lift up mine eyes unto the mountains. From whence shall my help come My help cometh from Jehovah who made Heaven and Earth.

All the mistakes in human history may be traced to one source failure to look unto God. Likewise all progress can be summed up in those beautiful words: Psalm 123: 1-2, Unto Thee do I lift up mine eyes, Oh Thou that sittest in the Heavens. Behold as the eyes of the servant look unto the hand of the master as the eyes of the maid look unto the hand of her mistress so our eyes look unto Jehovah our God.

When the sins and failures of a nation have reached a climax, then like the flood-tides of spring freshets sweep over the valleys, the life of the entire nation becomes overwhelmed and entangled in the death-tentacles of war and destruction.

There has been war after war from the earliest dawn-days of humanity to the present. History is mostly the story of war and battles with a few interludes of peace and quiet, a lull between storms and tempest and then another out-break of the spirit of hate, and the nations are again engaged in the murderous bloody fray of the battlefield.

Humanity has promised itself repeatedly: There shall be no more wars. But these promises were in vain. We have followed the easy course of glorifying the soldier-dead, but we have not had the courage to attack and conquer that spirit of selfishness and greed in the human heart, that sinfulness which is the real root and cause of all war. We have lacked the wisdom and the courage to conquer, with the help of God, our own sinfulness, our own self-love.

Having given relief to our feelings and emotions by saying a few words which trip so lightly from our lips, to tears that are silent in death, to hearts whose pulse beats no longer throb, we lull ourselves and our consciences to sleep for the time being. We busy ourselves with heaping up treasures for ourselves, which satisfy only our pride and ambition, to lord it over our fellowmen we grasp with greedy hands everything the present may offer, never asking, what price will the future have to pay for our greed and neglect.  And then we go on again in the same life of self-love.

We sometimes even try to make ourselves, and especially others, believe that we desire peace. But in reality most of our efforts are only more or less cleverly disguised attempts to cover up our pride and satisfaction in our success in discovering with remarkable skill the sins and mistakes of other people. We entrust the work of building the temple of peace to the same minds and hands which in the past have been the tools of the God of War. Sometimes even applying the unholy gains of the war profiteers for erecting Peace palaces and the financing of Peace organizations.

But the hands trained to slaughter their fellowmen, hands red with the blood and gore of battle, can never become the white hands which in innocence can build the temple of peace. And the hand that gloated over war profits is far more guilty in the sight of God and real lovers of humanity, than the hand that was deceived and misled and forced against its will to pull the trigger and wield the sword.

Into the temple of peace dare go only that marble which has been hewn and prayerfully placed by hands and hearts which through confession of sin, and prayer and plea for pardon have the assurance of the Word of God, that they now are holy hands in the sight of God because their sin is forgiven, their transgression is covered. Willfully sinful hands of unbelief can not build the temple of peace. The stains of sin and blood will penetrate the purest marble, and all our efforts to cover them will never hide them, our efforts to whitewash them will never wash them white.

As long as we build in unbelief with sin-cursed and burdened hands and hearts, on the treacherous quicksands of human self-sufficiency, human wisdom, hopes and ideals, all our efforts are in vain and only hollow mockery.

We follow false promises of peace like the wanderer lost in the swamp is lured deeper and deeper into its death-grasp by the Will of the Wisp lights of human reason, promises, hope and powers.

The past and the present have often long bemoaned their soldier-dead and sung their praises, but have never faced the real tragedies of war, which may be as much our fault as the fault of others. The heart grows weary in the struggle against sin, the mind grows listless and before long we are again making the same mistakes as the ages and the generations of the past.

Depending upon man to do what only God can do for humanity is never going to help humanity or bring peace. And humanity will go on piling up its slain on the fields of battle, sacrificing its life and souls upon the altars of greed and false national pride and ambition.

The lifeless clay of those slain on the battlefields bears not the curse of foes nor the anguish and lament of friends and dear ones. The soul once it has taken its flight from the tabernacle of clay to its eternal habitation, oft in the bloom of young manhood, can no more be recalled. Tenderly we lay away the house of clay, wrecked and blasted through the sin and pride of human will in its rebellion against God. Tenderly Mother Earth carpets with the same grass and flowers, the bodies of friends and foes alike, and the stream of humanity flows on, no wiser than before, in the same course that has led it to disaster so often.

But shall we go on in this way of human pride and self-sufficiency forever?  That path, that course leads only to bigger wars and more terrible destruction. If we have no other course then we might as well pray that the sable mantles and curtains of eternal night may as well envelope and enshroud the human mind and reason in the darkness of never ending night forever.


But there is another way. We hear it from the silent lips of stone, we see it in the eyes that look up to heaven, we feel a responsive chord in our hearts, we see it in the challenge of the hand that holds high the flag of hope, while the other holds with grim yet loving determination the broken body of her son. We see, we hear, we feel, in all this, the eternal challenge of the mother-heart of the human race. I will look unto the mountains from whence alone my help can come.

Out of the depths of the deepest sorrow that human heart can know, out of the depth of the mother-heart of the human race, there is a cry which shall not fall in vain upon the ears of the Eternal, the Almighty, Out of the depths I cry unto Thee , hear yet the eternal Father of all mankind, who hears the cry of the widow and the orphan, shall hear the cry of this mother-heart, torn and wounded by sorrow.  A sorrow which only a mother-heart can know which shared its heart throb with her child before it saw the light of day, whose soul shared every thought of joy and sorrow and received them into its tender budding life as an eternal impression .

Out of the depths of sorrow and gloom the courageous, gallant mother of her beloved soldier-dead looks upward to the mountains of God from whence alone help can come in the hour of sadness and courage and hope for the future.

To the eternal God of truth and mercy and righteousness and justice who by the might of His Word has called all the worlds and universe into being who has placed in them powers and forces which shall endure forever, that all the children of men might find room and shelter and the necessities of earthly life, if only they will be guided by His Spirit and obey His Word.

We cannot dedicate this monument, it is only stone wrought and carved by a skillful master-artist's hand, to impress upon our souls the challenge, the necessity to dedicate ourselves and all humanity to the eternal search and service for truth and righteousness.

Let us then lift up our eyes to Calvary's Hill and its Cross on which the Son of God and Son of Man showed and made the way back to God for all the children of men. The Way, the Truth, and the Life , who cried out from the deepest despair which human heart ever knew My God, my God, why has Thou forsaken me Who also could say after His victory over sin, Into Thy Hands I commend my Spirit , who could also say, It is finished . Only when we give our life into His complete care and guidance, only when we can learn to say at all times, Thy Will Be Done, can we worthily appreciate the tribute to the struggle for human freedom and liberty.

We dedicate this symbol of stone, to remind us to dedicate our hearts and lives to the service of truth.

Rev. Erwin G. Pfeiffer, B. D.
Pastor of the German Reformed Church,
Greenwood, Clark County, WI


Part of the crowd gathered around the band


The following is the list of some of those who registered the day of the dedication of the Peace Memorial. Willard and Greenwood names have been omitted.

Mrs. Margaret Walter, Mr. and Mrs. L.D. Varney, Wausau; Mrs. Gertrude Prellwitz, Lawton; Mrs. Irene Walter Weyker, Lucille A. Boehme, Raymond F. Erz, James C. Neuenfeldt, George Humke, Milwaukee; Mr. and Mrs. W. G. Fordyce and son John, Vera Fairbanks, Mr. and Mrs. A.H. Gauger and son Bob, Mrs. Eva Andrews, Marshfield; Mrs. O. A. Anderson, Mr. and Mrs. Morris Anderson, A.M. Sanford, Stevens Point; Mrs. P.H. McCann, Detroit, Mich.; Mr. and Mrs. Theo. Erickson, Cashton; Mrs. Ray Dinger, Melvina; Dr. and Mrs. Hugh R. Schofield, Mrs. Roberta Schofield Watters, Miss Frances Schiller, Loretta Hanlon, Anna Kokaly, Chicago, Ill.; Mrs. Allie M. Pierrelee, Mrs. Sammous, Kansas City, Mo.; W. A. Porter, Chippewa Falls; Elizabeth Hauser, St. Paul, Minn.; Mr. and Mrs. A.H. Voss, Nancy Hauser, Minneapolis, Minn.; Mr. and Mrs. Lee A. Reesman, Arlyn D. Reesman, Black River Falls; Mr. and Mrs. Francis Schweinler, Mosinee; Geo. J. Stauss, Galena, Ill; A. X. Stievater, Manitowoc; Mr. and Mrs. Henry Erdman, Augusta; Misses Rosetta Hiller and Harriet O’Connell, Fox Lake; Mr. and Mrs. Marner Cook, Jamestown, N.D.; Mr. and Mrs. E.C. Williams, Portland, Oregon; Mr. and Mrs. Irvin Barnes, New Lisbon; Ella Rud, Osseo; Mr. and Mrs. J.H. Redwine, Mr. and Mrs. Chas. Garrett, Ladysmith; Francis J. Bryalski, Staff St. E.M. Shaw, Master Sgt. Clarence Quananem, 1st Sgt. H.G Thorson, Stanley; Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Ramsey, Vernon Ramsey, May Berg, Harvey Patterson, Melrose; Elizabeth Miles, J.R. McQuillan, Antigo; May Hansen, Dora Milholm, Julia Hansen, Albert Hansen, Alfred Hansen, Denver, Colo.; Mr. and Mrs. Henry Puttkransee, Williams, Iowa; Mrs. E. Moldenhauer, Mr. and Mrs. Ed Lezotle, Lida Peaslee, Kittie M. Kountz, Mrs. G. H. Lowe, Mr. and Mrs. Fred Timmler, Mr. and Mrs. V. C. Woelffe, Mr. and Mrs. A. C. Covell, Rev. G. Longenecker, Mr. and Mrs. W. F. Hemp, Neillsville; Mr. and Mrs. Will Bopp, Richard Bopp, Mr. and Mrs. Verne Bopp, Alma Center; Mr. and Mrs. A. G. Flaatten, Withee; Mr. and Ralph Philpott, Mr. and Mrs. Peter Lydiksen, Loyal; Mrs. John F. Harms, Alden, Iowa; Oscar Bunders, Prairie du Chien; Ed Jackson, Ellsworth; Mr. and Mrs. Thor Johnson, Dwaine Johnson, Arvid Johnson, Wis. Rapids; Lorraine Stuber, Alois C. Stuber, Strum; Gertrude Gosse, Owen; Emory Voie, Vivian Voie, Oline Voie, Conrad C. Olson, Eau Claire; Mr. and Mrs. Carl Chandler, Carter Chandler, Mr. and Mrs. Vern Marshall, Mrs. Brussy, Allen Marshall, Blanchardville; Dr. and Mrs. Ketchpaw, Mr. and Mrs. F. L. Lockerby, Bloomer; Mr. and Mrs. Archie Clayton, Elko, Nev.; Mr. and Mrs. Louis Schoerer, Mr. and Mrs. Phil Christie, Mr. and Mrs. M. C. Thompson, Mr. and Mrs. Clint Bates, Mr. and Mrs. Ben Merwin, Mrs. Francis Prosser, Abbotsford; Mr. and Mrs. Lorenz Keitz, Cleveland, Ohio; Mrs. Mike Schnettlee, St. Na.; Mrs. Andrew Weilmas, Valders; Mr. and Mrs. Ray Knutson, Appleton; Mrs. Martin Zickert, Mrs. E. P. Stone, Neillsville.

SOURCES: Greenwood City Library Historical Clippings, Lorraine (Schwarze) Ernst Album, Greenwood Gleaner

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