Three Memorials: The 32nd Infantry, Patrick Lucey, and Dontre Hamilton

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.

Three Memorials: 32nd Infantry, Patrick Lucey, and Dontre Hamilton

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.

About Katherine Wikoff

I am a college professor at Milwaukee School of Engineering, where I teach literature, film studies, political science, and communication. I also volunteer with a Milwaukee homeless sanctuary, Repairers of the Breach, as chair of the Communications and Fund Development Committee.
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6 Responses to Three Memorials: The 32nd Infantry, Patrick Lucey, and Dontre Hamilton

  1. Lisa says:

    Beautifully put, Katherine. I’ve been haunted by the story of Dontre Hamilton ever since it happened.


    • Thank you, Lisa. Dontre Hamilton’s death has haunted me, too. Especially since Red Arrow is part of my everyday routine. I feel sad going about my daily life at the very spot where this man lost his.


  2. This Dontre’s Mother I would like to thank each one of you for your kind words. We are praying the God will blessed everyone who has show love and care for our love. Thank you.


  3. Mike says:

    Why have we as Milwaukeeans been so silent about the lack of information regarding Dontre’s death? I can’t believe there hasn’t been a single march or organized protest (that I’m aware of) since the May 3rd vigil. Why are we not holding MPD/DOJ accountable to (at the very least) release the name of the officer involved. We’re nearly 2 months after the bullets were fired and still not a peep. Very sad. Very frustrating.


    • Well said. A news story on local TV last night said the independent investigation was almost complete. I assume that means a report will be released soon. I hope it truly addresses all the unanswered questions surrounding Dontre Hamilton’s death.


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