People visiting the Lyon County Museum on Main Street in Marshall can see an array of military uniforms and artifacts, including a couple that have stories attached to them.
By Marshallite James Winn's uniform - "he was in the Korean War and in World War II," said curator Bev Kenyon - is the uniform of Dale Reishus of Cottonwood (pictured at right).
A laminated newspaper page shows a Pioneer Press story that tells the love story between Reishus and his high school sweetheart, Donna Mae Larson.
Photo by Karin Elton
Two desert camouflage uniforms from the Gulf wars are on display at the Lyon County Museum — one is from Milroy native Ron Fogelson, a tech sergeant in the Air Force who served in Iraq. The other is his wife’s, Danielle Marks. The two met in Somalia and were later married.
When Reishus went off to war in the 1943, a year after he graduated from Cottonwood High, Larson handed him a journal to write his thoughts in. It was a "tiny, 60-page book (that) would sail the South China Sea, nearly sink to the bottom of the ocean, presumably to get lost forever, and finally be returned anonymously and land in the Library of Congress where it is all but revered."
Reishus enlisted in the U.S. Navy. Aboard the U.S.S. Dale, Reishus wrote in his diary, making sure no one saw him. He kept it behind some pipes in the boiler room. It was against the rules to keep a journal because if the enemy got a hold of it valuable information might be leaked. Larson hadn't known that when she gave her guy the journal.
After the war ended the U.S.S. Dale was decommissioned and sold to the Gillette Razor Company. The story says that Reishus meant to retrieve the diary but forgot.
Two years later the now married couple were astonished to receive a package addressed "Dale Reishus, Cottonwood, Minnesota." In it was the journal that Reishus had failed to remove from the ship's bowels.
Dale Reishus died in 2002 at the age of 78. Donna Mae Reishus moved to Anoka to be near her daughter and decided to trim her possessions.
She donated the diary to the Veterans History Project where it can be read as a historical document in the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.
Kenyon is glad to have so many uniforms that have been donated. Although she has one woman's uniform on display - it is from the Gulf War - Kenyon would like a World War II woman's uniform.
"One where they wore skirts," Kenyon said. She said the uniforms from the WACS and WAVs are hard to find because after the war "they often took the ribbons off of them and wore them." The uniforms were made from a "beautiful wool" material and the practical women "wore them and wore them out."
Another piece of historical memorabilia at the museum is a preserved front page of the News Messenger of Lyon County. One whole page is devoted to the news of an armistice between the allies and Germany which ended the first world war.
The Nov. 16, 1918, headline shouts "President Wilson proclaims victory of democracy."
The words, which appear below a giant picture of a flag, say, "President Wilson issued a formal proclamation at 10 a.m. November 11 announcing the armistice with Germany had been signed."
The proclamation is shown: "My Fellow Countrymen. The armistice was signed this morning. Everything for which America fought has been accomplished. It will now be our fortunate duty to assist by example, by sober friendly council and by material aid in the establishment of just democracy throughout the world.
Nov. 11 was known as Armistice Day and after World War II as Veterans Day, said Kenyon.
"They changed it to be one of those Monday holidays, but then changed it back to Nov. 11," she said.