On my Starbucks run while taking a break from making up the final exam for my political science class, I was struck by this sight.
The granite arrow honors the 32nd Infantry Division of the U.S. Army National Guard, made up of units from Wisconsin and Michigan with roots dating back to the Civil War’s famous Iron Brigade. The “Red Arrow” nickname and insignia were derived from the unit’s distinction during World War I as the first Allied division to pierce the Germans’ Hindenburg Line. Milwaukee County’s Red Arrow Park, where my Starbucks is located, commemorates the legacy of this unit’s service.
The flag at half-staff honors former Wisconsin Governor Patrick Lucey, who died a week ago Saturday (May 10) and will be buried today.
And the stuffed animals and votive candles around the base of the Red Arrow monument stone are memorials to Dontre Hamilton, a man with schizophrenia who was shot and killed here by a police officer April 30th. There are many questions surrounding this incident, including what happened between Dontre and the officer immediately prior to the shooting and whether Dontre’s access to medications may have been blocked by or negligently delayed by a lack of availability through the county’s mental health services.
All lives are precious. Each of us matters to somebody else. If we’re lucky, each of us is also loved by somebody else. Seeing these three markers just now reminds me of this universal truth.