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Veterans honor guard is looking sharp for Memorial Day

The honor guard of veterans that carries our nation's colors in local parades and provides military honors at funerals of veterans is better dressed these days.

Using $3,000 in funding from the city of Hudson over the past two years, the honor guard has purchased new uniforms to replace the mismatched outfits members used to wear. The money also paid for harnesses for carrying the flags and assorted accessories.

"I wanted them to look sharp," said Mayor Jack Breault, who directed that $3,000 in city motel room tax revenue be used to fund the uniform purchases. Half of the money was allocated in 2005 and the rest this year.

The city assesses a 3 percent tax on the price of staying at a Hudson motel, hotel or inn. The tax brought in $146,245 in 2005.

State law requires that 40 percent of the room tax revenue be used to promote tourism. The city meets the requirement by allocating money to the Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau.

Breault, with the consent of the City Council, uses the rest of the room tax revenue to subsidize various nonprofit organizations that serve youth, senior citizens and others in the community.

He said of members of the honor guard: "They're good citizens who protected us in wartime and they deserve to be honored today with an updated uniform ... This is an unusual time in our country and we should honor the past and also the people that are protecting us today in Iraq."

The honor guard is comprised of members of Hudson's Otis King American Legion Post 50 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Memorial Post 2115.

They'll be wearing their new shirts, ascots, braids and berets for the Memorial Day services Monday at St. Patrick's Catholic Cemetery (9 a.m.) and Willow River Cemetery (10:15 a.m.).

"We appreciate what the city has done," said Bernie McSorley, the honor guard member who coordinated the purchase of the new uniforms. "This would have never happened without the city's support."

McSorley, a Navy veteran and owner of a Hudson insurance agency, said honor guard members previously had to buy their own uniforms.

Legionnaires wear yellow and blue vests and the VFW members had red and black vests. "It was a mishmash," McSorley said.

Now they'll all be wearing a beret and outfitted in the same white shirts with gold ascots and braids.

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

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