Author Topic: Grafton, Wisconsin  (Read 2521 times)

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Offline clayman

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Grafton, Wisconsin
« on: May 21, 2006, 09:12:06 PM »
clayman's foreword:

The following account has been excerpted from Chapter Ten of John E. Borne's The USS Liberty: Dissenting History vs. Official History.  Opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of Jelly.


     In December 1987 the people of Grafton, a town of 10,000 about 20 miles north of Milwaukee, began to raise money for a library.  Two local industrialists in their 80s, the brothers Ben and Ed Grob, together contributed $400,000, about half the cost. The town council offered to name the library after the Grobs, but Ben Grob had read Assault on The Liberty and asked that the library be named the USS Liberty Memorial Library.  The town council and the fund-raising committee for the library agreed and building plans were initiated.  Thus began a controversy which would absorb the town from early 1988 until June 1989.

     In April 1988 members of the Milwaukee Jewish Council telephoned village president James Grant and asked him to come to Milwaukee to discuss the problem of the naming of the library.  According to Grant, he refused and instead invited the Council members to come to see him, so they arrived in Grafton and there was a conference around Grant's kitchen table.

     Grant says that the Council members said that the proposed name of the library was an insult to Israel and to American Jews.  Grant disagreed but told them that the final decision would be made by the library board, and that they were free to argue their point to its members.  At this point, according to Grant, the visitors threatened economic reprisals against the town and against Grant himself.  Grant told them they could do as they wished but that he would favor the naming of the library as the Liberty Memorial Library (18).

     The visitors left but returned a few days later to meet with other Grafton officials and argue their point.  James Fromstein, vice president of the council, said that the name was an insult to Israel and that,

     to raise the profile of an event that is an embarrassment to one of our closest allies is
      inappropriate....Naming a public library after the Liberty is hurtful to the community and
      memorializes an event about which the facts are in doubt.

     Howard Schenfeld of the council said:

     The aim of the Liberty lobby is to keep the issue before the public....It is divisive and
      damaging to U.S.-Israeli relations.  The Jewish community feels that it cannot
      participate in this.

     From the beginning groups outside Grafton, aside from the Milwaukee Jewish Council and the Milwaukee Journal, were expressing their opinions on the issue.  It is apparent from the statement of Mr. Schenfeld that the Liberty Lobby had joined in the debate, although we were not able to locate their specific statements. Also, the Liberty men were aware of the issue at once and were sending letters to friends in Grafton or to the Milwaukee Journal.  John Hrankowski of the LVA wrote that "they (anti-Semitic groups) may have picked up our cause, but there is not an ounce of anti-Semitism in our group," and added that the library name was very important to the Liberty crewmen. (19)
     On June 4, 1988 the Milwaukee Journal said in an editorial:

     Perhaps there was a time when there was no anti-Semitism involved (in this issue)
      ...but that time is long past. (The editorial pointed out that the Grobs in a letter to a
      small local paper near Grafton urged people to rally to the library and "bring your
           Whatever the facts of the attack...anti-Semitic groups and publications now are
      obsessed with the incident...using it as proof that neither Israel nor Jews can be
      trusted.  Grafton officials have chosen to think of it as a memorial to 34 men...but have
      chosen to overlook the anti-Semitic connection. (20)

     On June 9 the Milwaukee Journal printed a group of letters representing the views of readers.  Robert Covel of Madison wrote:

     The local Jewish community thinks it is an anti-Semitic name.  I'm sure the majority of
      Americans didn't even see the connection until Jewish groups began complaining....
      If we can honor Golda Meir with a library in Milwaukee, and Holocaust victims with a
      memorial in Washington, why should we refuse to honor a few of our own in a
      village of Midwest America?

     Thomas Gerber said that in naming the library after the Liberty, "all those of Jewish religion will be stigmatized...a case of guilt by association." He suggested naming the library after a fallen soldier of Grafton.
     Russell Toyek of the Grafton American Legion said that he and other American soldiers had helped to defeat Hitler and rescue people in the concentration camps; did the Jewish people now think that the Legion was anti-Semitic for backing the library? (The local Legion post is referred to here.)
     Dottie Kellner said that the Milwaukee Journal articles had been unfair to the Grobs.  "Anyone who knows them would never believe that they were anti-Semitic.  It isn't in their system."  Also, she said, to oppose Israel on an issue was not the same as anti-Semitism.
     James Ennes wondered why it was all right to honor the men who were killed aboard the USS Stark by an Iraqi missle, but not to memorialize the dead of the Liberty.  Joe Meadors said that it was unfair to accuse the Liberty men of anti-Semitism because "some unaffiliated groups back our cause...To block honors for our dead shipmates simply because the objectionable group also favors them is especially unfair." (21)
     On June 10, 1988, Joe Meadors, John Hrankowski and Paul McCloskey met in Milwaukee, and were picked up by a Grafton police car and taken to Grafton.  There they went to the Grant home, where they read all the Milwaukee newspaper editorials and stories on the library controversy (all opposed to the name, says Meadors).  The group then went to the local American Legion hall, where 400 people awaited them, for a discussion of the issue.  The Liberty men showed the Patrick King film on the attack and aftermath, and debate began.  Some members of the audience asked whether the Liberty name might not be used to promote anti-Semitism, but the Liberty men insisted that the name was to honor dead seamen, and nothing more. (22)

     On June 19 the Journal wrote another article on the issue, with a roundup of reader opinion.  Shelley Duback, who ran an art studio in Grafton, said that "a public facility should offend no one in the community," and so she backed changing the name.

     Barbara Keller, an economic consultant working in Grafton, said that the controversy would hurt the town by creating a "negative perception."  She stated that "a man from Illinois" had recently marched in front of the library with a large sign saying "Israel, murderer of American seamen."  Alan Lessnick of Skokie, Ill., of the executive board of B'Nai B'Rith, said that naming the library as proposed would "give credence to anti-Semitic groups."

     Robert Schumer of Grafton condemned the Journal for its depiction of the town as anti-Semitic; he called this "an assault on the village's name." (23)

     On July 1 the Grafton library board affirmed the decision on the name by a vote of 7-6.  On July 10 the Milwaukee Journal revealed that the Grobs in 1987 had contributed $500 to the presidential campaign of David Duke, former Klan leader, and in 1965 to the Christian Nationalist Crusade, an anti-Semitic group.

     James Grant announced that plans for the library would go ahead anyway.  He said that the Journal's articles about the Grobs' financial contributions "smacked of McCarthyism."  Ben Grob said that he had made these contributions to Duke and others because "all points of view should be heard." (24)

     On July 12 a Journal editorial, "How honorable Grafton effort turned ugly," said that Grafton's original purpose in naming the library was good, but that to take money now from such a person as Grob would show that it did not care about the "taint of bigotry."  The way out was to rename the library. (25)

     In Grafton opinion grew more polarized.  James Grant said that the library name was "no more anti-Semitic than it was anti-Japanese."  He stated that abandoning the name now would not only be an offense to the memory of the dead sailors but would also be an admission that the choice was motivated by anti-Semitism in the first place.

     Judy Mann of the Milwaukee Jewish Council said that the Liberty had become "a symbol of anti-Semitism."  She also said that in the late 1930s Grafton, populated by descendants of German immigrants, had been a stronghold of the German-American Bund, which staged parades down the village streets to show support for the cause of Nazi Germany.

     Carole Schneider, president of the library fund-raising committee, replied that "that was way back in the old days" and had nothing to do with Grafton now, or with the present dispute.

     Judy Korneman, a former Grafton high school teacher (and an Episcopalian) was upset and felt that"many townspeople were playing innocent about the controversy" and that they did not realize how offended Jews were by the situation.  She organized a group called Voices which pressed for a change in the library name, but she was able to get only 400 signatures from 5,000 adult villagers. (26)

     At the ground-breaking ceremony for the library on July 23, 1988 members of Voices picketed the library, some carrying swastika signs to indicate that the backers of the library were motivated by anti-Semitism.  The controversy continued and formerly friendly neighbors became cold and distant. (27)

     James Grant, in response to my questions, provided more information on the specifics of the controversy.  He said that the local Jewish people in Grafton took little part in the dispute, the main opposition to the library name coming from the Milwaukee Jewish Council.  In Grafton, the leaders of the local Catholic Church, and a Unitarian minister, were opposed to the library name.  Many of the school teachers of the town were also in opposition.  Grant claims that the teachers tried to influence parents through the students "Should Nazis name the library?"  The students, of course, all voted "no."

     In addition, Grant says, he and his wife received threats and harassment by telephone.  Twice his wife received messages saying that "something serious was going to happen" to Grant.  His wife also received calls saying that he, Grant, was being unfaithful to her was seeing another woman.  Grant says that he and his wife were annoyed but did not take the calls seriously.  However, these calls, like the school "survey," seemed to him to illustrate the pettiness and unscrupulousness of those who opposed the naming of the library.

     It was clear that proponents of the library name were a majority in Grafton.  In April 1989 there was an election for the office of Village President, and the only issue was the library naming.  Opponents of the library name backed as candidate a 19-year-old college dropout.  James Grant, the incumbent and a strongLiberty backer, was reelected by an overwhelming majority. (28)

     On June 10, 1989, the library was dedicated in Grafton and two buses filled with Liberty men and their families came from Milwaukee to the ceremony.  The local police feared violence and so the buses were escorted by police cars and there was a SWAT team stationed outside the library. The crowd of 300 was peaceful, however.

     There was no word from the White House, which usually sends a message of support to memorial services for dead veterans, nor was there one from the Secretary of Defense.  The commander of Great Lakes Naval Station had been invited but did not come.  "It was clear," said Liberty News, that there was "word from on high that no naval personnel could attend this ceremony."  One chief petty officer, who ran a recruiting station in a nearby town, came and said would be there "if the whole damned Naval Officer corps ordered him not to."  There were men from Vietnam Veterans organization, and a resolution came from the national headquarters of the American Legion, giving "the utmost honor, support and compassion" to the Liberty veterans.

     Governor Thompson of Wisconsin sent a message to the ceremony, but it made no mention of the dead sailors, whih offended the Liberty men.  The Milwaukee Journal, which had for so long been opposed to the library name, the next day criticized the governor for failure to mention the dead seamen.

     The library board had asked the local high school band to provide music, but the school board decided that the ceremony was "too controversial."  Instead, a 20-member volunteer orchestra played "America the Beautiful," the national anthem, and, as the names of the 34 dead sailors were read, "My Country 'Tis of Thee."  An honor guard of American Legionnaires fire a volley.  The memorial stone in front of the library was unveiled: a granite block engraved with the names of the 34 dead, on top of which was a bullet-pierced helmet of one of the dead sailors.

     It was a time of great emotion for the Liberty men.  Stan White, who had spent nine years trying to arrange such a memorial, wept as the names of the 34 dead were read, saying that "a lot of stuff has been inside me all these years."  The service, said a Dallas Morning News reporter who was present, "showed that emotions surrounding the incident had not diminished in 22 years."  Relatives of the dead were present and honored.  The Grob brothers were presented with Liberty jackets.  The Liberty men were made honorary citizens of Grafton.

     There were fervent speeches by the Liberty men and their supporters.  Hrankowski said that the ceremony was proof that adversity could be overcome. James Grant said that the survivors "must be made to feel that their comrades did not die without proper recognition."  McCloskey said that "what a nation has declined to do, a small town has done, with patriotism, honor and class."  Susan Vergemont, the local representative of the state legislature, talked of the "dastardly efforts by anti-Semitic groups to exploit this incident" and to "steal the good name of the Liberty."

     At the dinner following the ceremony the LVA leaders told the townspeople that "outside our immediate family we have never experienced the love and support which people have shown us here."  They praised Grant and his supports for enduring "two years of slander and misrepresentation" by the Milwaukee Journal and the Milwaukee Jewish Council.  They denied again that the memorial should be viewed as hostile to Israel.

     It is not dishonorable to memorialize our fallen comrades.  The Vietnamese do not
      object to the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, and the Maine Memorial in Arlington
      is not an insult to the Cubans.  The Japanese do not object to the Arizona memorial
      in Pearl Harbor.  Even those who die in accidents, as in the Stark or Challenger
      incidents, are memorialized and honored.  It was only the men of the Liberty who
     were not publicly remembered. (29)

     In the weeks after the ceremony the long dispute seemed to die down.  The Milwaukee Journal the following day said that it was a beautiful event.  It closed the issue by calling the attack on the Liberty "a strange footnote to the Six Day War."

     The next week one Marian Weiskranz wrote the local newspaper in Lodi, a nearby town, to say that the ceremony "affirmed the anti-Semitic feelings of those who have an extreme antipathy to Jews."  Stan White of the LVS wrote a letter to the Lodi paper to ask:

     Who are these people who cannot take pride in a...ceremony to these people who
      were so badly used?  If the ceremony affirms the feeling of some, then 'some'
      have a problem, but this is no reason to cancel the ceremony.  To label the feelings
      (of the survivors) anti-Semitism is to stretch the language all out of sense.

     Carol Grant wrote to Senator Herb Kohl of Wisconsin on June 16, 1989:

     Ours was the only memorial service the crew ever had.  It was a weekend of high
      emotion... We reject any animosity toward Israel and find repugnant those who
      would use the incident to further their own agenda of hate and bigotry.

     Congressman Andrew Jacobs (D-IN) read into the Congressional Record "without the slightest animosity toward Israel" the speech which McCloskey had made at the ceremony.  With this, the controversy seemed to come to an end. (30)

     The Grob brothers offered financial aid to the LVA in finding missing shipmates.  (There were still about 50 men who had never been located).  Phil Tourney of LVA was put in charge of a newspaper campaign to locate the missing crewmen.

     It is quite remarkable that a small town was torn apart for over a year by the Liberty issue.  Small towns are sometimes divided over strikes, educational disputes or racial matters, but this was not a concrete issue affecting the town's economy, future or social order.  It was a dispute over history and the relation of history to the present.  Passionate and involved arguments were made by both sides in the dispute, and these arguments should be considered more carefully.


     The original arguments of the Milwaukee Jewish Council were quite moderate in tone.  They said that "facts are in doubt" about the attack (an unusual concession from supporters of Israel) and that the memorial would be an embarrassment to an ally.  They pointed to the Liberty Lobby exploitation of the affair but did not mention Grob.  (However, if Grant is correct, these same Council leaders who were moderate and reasonable in public were in private making threats of economic sanctions.)

     Two months later the Milwaukee Journal said that the Grobs and other anti-Semitic groups had become the main issue and that Grafton could not ignore this connection.  By July the paper had exposed Grob's financial contributions to right-wing groups and this now became of major importance.

     For the next year there was an escalation of rhetoric.  The opponents of the library name said that all those of Jewish religion would be stigmatized; that the name would "give credence to anti-Semitic groups"; that the name fostered "guilt by association" and would be used as proof that "neither Israel nor Jews can be trusted."  The swastika signs at the ground-breaking ceremony in effect said that those who backed the library name were ardent anti-Semites, and the ceremony was said to "affirm the anti-Semitic feelings of those who have an extreme antipathy toward Jews."

     There is no doubt of the sincerity of those who made these arguments, but Liberty men had never in any way associated the Jewish people of America, or of Israel, with the attack on the ship.  They had said repeatedly that the assault on the ship was either the act of the government of Israel or of a military leader (Dayan) acting on his own.  In neither case would the people of Israel be held responsible, any more than the American people would be held responsible for the Johnson administration's recall of the rescue planes.  The American Jewish people certainly had no connection to the attack.

     It is possible that behind the contentions of those who opposed the library name was a fundamental fear that anti-Semitism, which was so terrible a force in the time of the Holocaust, had not really withered in American life but was merely dormant and could return at any time, sparked by an issue such as the Liberty.

     Those opposed to the library name were arguing for a "heckler's veto"; if a memorial offended any one group it should be banned.  This is a complex argument with much to be said on both sides.  It is not usually an argument which any group would want to have applied to itself.  If the Arab population of Milwaukee find the Golda Meir Library there offensive, or a fund-raising ceremony for Israel intolerable, should they be able to ban these?  On the other hand there is no doubting the negative connotation of some symbols, such as the Confederate flag which offends Blacks.


     Some of these were disingenuous or naive.  When Dottie Kellner said that the Grobs could not be accused of any anti-Semitism, she was either ignorant of their activities or avoiding the truth.  When James Grant said that the Journal articles "smacked of McCarthyism," he was not only dismissing the seriousness of the Grobs' contributions to right wing causes, but also ignoring the fact that the Grobs in the 1950s had been backers of the Wisconsin Senator.  When he said that all opposition came from outside Grafton he was denigrating the serious and concerned opposition of local opponents.

     The main argument of the Liberty men was that the dead seamen deserved a memorial, and that this fact was not changed because of the Grobs' financial contribution, or because right wing groups such as the Liberty Lobby tried to exploit the issue.  This was a very emotional issue to the crewmen, as is shown by the words and tears on the dedication day.  This emotional need for recognition and honor was so basic that the crewmen had little patience with the equally strong emotions of their opponents.

     There are valid arguments on both sides, but I feel that there is much justice in this case on the side of the Liberty men.  They had a long and decent record up to the time of the Grafton affair of avoiding and denouncing attempts by right-wing and anti-Semitic groups to use the Liberty name for their own purposes.  This record was known to the ADL, but that organization had chosen a demagogic and untruthful method of dealing with the Liberty issue since 1980.  The Jewish people who were alarmed by the Liberty campaign were expressing a fear that was real, but that fear had been fostered by ADL leaders.  The crewmen had never blamed the Jewish people at large for the attack on the Liberty, and it was difficult to see why they should be deprived of a memorial ceremony which meant much to them because their opponents falsely claimed that the memorial symbolized anti-Semitism.

     Furthermore, the tactics of those who opposed the library name raise a serious question about the methods which can legitimately be used in such a controversy.  If Mr. Grant is telling the truth (and there is no reason to assume that he is not) these are actions which should have no place in such a civic debate.

     At the same time, it can be argued that the Liberty men were, at the least, insensitive to the feelings of their opponents.  The background of Ben Grob, and his use of the word "shekels," should alarm not only Jews but anyone concerned about anti-Semitism.  I have the impression that the Liberty men simply decided not to worry about this problem in this particular case.  They could have argued, and would probably have been correct in doing so, that Grob was really a side issue, and that the Jewish Council would have opposed the library name if Grob had not existed.

     The Liberty men had fought many battles by the time of the Grafton dispute, and may well have felt that their attempts to be careful and scrupulous had earned them little.  They may also have felt that they had few allies in these battles, and that in this case, they would take allies wherever they could be found.



18. This account of the first meeting is based on a telephone conversation with Mr. Grant, August 10,
     1993.  Other events in Grafton as related by Mr. Grant will be clearly identified as the account
     given by him.
19. "'What's in a Name' Controversy," Chicago Tribune, May 6, 1988.
20. Editorial, Milwaukee Journal, June 4, 1988, "Why Should Grafton Kowtow to the Grobs?"
21. Milwaukee Journal, June 9, 1988.  Noting the frequent references to "unaffiliated groups," it
     seems probable that groups such as the Liberty Lobby had taken up the cause of the library
     name, although we do not have documentary evidence and no facts are given in the newspaper
     stories beyond these references.
22. Liberty News, September 1988: 4.
23. Milwaukee Journal, June 19, 1988: 17A.
24. Ibid., July 19, 1988: 1A
25. Ibid., July 12, 1988: 11A
26. Dirk Johnson, "Library's Name Brings Talk of Anti-Semitism," New York Times, 6 January 1989:
27. Liberty News, September 1988: 3.
28. Ibid., June 1989: 20.  The young candidate for the office was a son of one of those who opposed
      the library name.  His candidacy enabled those who opposed Grant and the Liberty men to
      signify their discontent, although they knew that he had no chance to win.
29. Ibid., March 1989: 9.
30. Ibid., March 1990: 7.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2006, 03:34:01 PM by clayman »

Offline GreyLmist

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Re: Grafton, Wisconsin
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2006, 07:35:45 AM »

USS Liberty Memorials


Linn Barracks in Japan in memory of Chief Raymond Linn.

Linn Operations Building at Sugar Grove, WV.

The Cold War Museum

Alexander Neil Thompson, Jr., Vertical Launching and Harpoon Weapons Training Building Building at US Naval Training Center, Naval Station, San Diego, California, dedicated July 20, 1990.

Alexander Neil Thompson Bachelor Enlisted Quarters (BEQ 332) at US Naval Training Center, Service School Command, Great Lakes, Illinois, dedicated June 8, 1972, in memory of Gunners Mate Alexander Neil Thompson.

USS Liberty Oak Tree.

USS Liberty memorial plaque in memory of Liberty's crewman Lawrence Paul Hayden and his shipmates who died with him, placed aboard USS Lexington, Corpus Christi, Texas, by Joe Bizet of USS Hancock (CV-19) and Gary Brummett of USS Liberty.

Bossier City, LA, Memorial created by the crew of USS Hancock.

Arlington National Cemetery's official list of men lost aboard USS Liberty.

Official ceremonies honoring those buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

All men who died in the attack are listed in the The Navy Log at the US Navy Memorial in Washington, DC.

Town Point Park in Norfolk, Virginia.

Veterans Memorial Park in Walnut, Illinois.

Hampton Roads Naval Museum remembers USS Liberty.

Memorial carillon at David Adams Memorial Chapel (the base chapel) Naval Station, Norfolk, Virginia, dedicated June 8, 1969, in ceremony conducted by Chaplain David M. Humphreys, USN. The carillon was unveiled by RADM Ben Sarver and Captain McGonagle.

Lieutenant Commander John Engelberger, USCG, of Morrisville, Pennsylvania, created a USS Liberty memorial on the main street of the town of Morrisville. Commander Engelberger died of cancer in March, 2003, after many years of energetic support for USS Liberty.

Liberty High School, Renton Washington, is the home of the ship's original bell. The ship's bell is displayed with honor at assemblies and sports events by the school NROTC unit.

A homeowner in western Washington State has for many years maintained this sign within sight of traffic on a major state highway.

Liberty Park at Goodfellow AFB in Texas was created by the Center for Cryptology Detachment as a proper home for USS Liberty's original commissioning plaque, which is displayed there. The dedication ceremony in October, 2003, was attended by our own Ron Kukal who represented the ship. The Park underwent a major renovation in 2004.

The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum has a small USS Liberty display consisting of a photograph of the ship with MedEvac helicopters and this caption: "On June 8, 1967, Israeli torpedo boats and aircraft attacked the intelligence ship USS Liberty in the Mediterranean. Aircraft launched from the carrier America to aid Liberty were recalled when a message of apology was received from Tel Aviv. The Liberty is shown listing to starboard, while a helicopter carries wounded and dead back to the America."

Memorial Plaque at Calvert Hall College High School in memory of William Allenbaugh.

Melvin Smith Barracks at Pensacola, Florida.

Curtis Graves Barracks at Pensacola, Florida.

Curtis Graves Barracks at Great Lakes Naval Training Center.

Ronnie Campbell Barracks at Edzell, Scotland.

Lawrence Hayden barracks at Pensacola Naval Station.

Memorial display, Admiral Wenger Cryptologic Museum, Washington, DC (moved to Pensacola Naval Station).

Liberty's battle flag and other artifacts are on permanent display in The National Cryptologic Museum, near Fort George Meade, Maryland.

Memorial monument (+Stark and Lebanon Marine Barracks) at NAF Detroit flagpole.

Memorial monument at Haverhill, Massachusetts, mentions USS Liberty along with other wars, battles and police actions that have cost the lives of American servicemen.

A Memorial brass plaque in memory of Duane Marggraf was installed at Lakeside Park in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, in the 1980s. In 1999, a local resident noticed that the plaque had been removed. After several letters to city authorities, no one seemed to know where the plaque had gone. Finally a city employee called quietly to tell Liberty friends that the plaque was in storage. Armed with this information, city officials were asked to restore the plaque to a place of honor. We are pleased to report that the Duane Marggraf Memorial Plaque is now (June 2000) displayed on a wall in the Court House.

Memorial Public Library at Grafton, Wisconsin. Creation of this city public library, named USS LIBERTY MEMORIAL PUBLIC LIBRARY, became a matter of great controversy in the 1980s when pro-Israel organizations organized protests, claiming that the library's name was an insult to Jews. After dozens of newspaper and television stories the town prevailed.

Memorial monument at Bay City, Michigan.

Memorial stone at Military & Space Museum, Frankenmuth, Michigan.

Memorial display highlighting Phil Armstrong, Frankenmuth, Michigan.

Memorial museum display (in planning) aboard USS Yorktown at Patriots Point.

USS Liberty ship's bell at Liberty High School, Renton, Washington.

Tombstone for six Liberty dead, remade at request of Liberty survivors.

Memorial marker stone and flagpole for Francis Brown at Prospect Park, Troy, New York. Story in Troy Nation, 21 July 1991.

Memorial nameplates for Phil Armstrong and Steve Toth at Hall of Heroes, U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis.

USS LIBERTY road named near Richmond, California, by Ralph Johnson.

Two theatre seats with USS LIBERTY memorial nameplates at the U S Navy Memorial in Washington, DC, donated at $1,000 each by Ralph Hostetter (at the suggestion of Commander Pete Bucher) and by Ahron Jay Cristol, a bankruptcy magistrate who has devoted many years to trying to prove that the attack on our ship was a tragic accident and that we survivors who say otherwise are confused by shock, blood and "the fog of war".

All men who died are listed in the computerized honor roll at the U S Navy Memorial at Washington, DC.

A memorial was dedicated October 17, 1992, by the Kriesel-Jacobsen American Legion Post 560 of Zimmerman, MN, in Veterans Park. A large stone was installed with bronze image of ship and names of the men who died. The Ceremony was attended by Chief Brooks, Jim Smith, Rocky Sturman, Rick Aimetti, Phil Tourney, Larry Thorn, Jack Beattie, Captain McGonagle, Stan White, Gene Kirk and Glenn Oliphant.

USS LIBERTY memorial ceremony was conducted at the National Security Agency on May 10, 1993, as part of an Armed Forces Day celebration. The ship's original flag, which flew on June 8, 1967, was flown during the ceremony, and was later installed in a special memory display at the Agency.

Memorial flag pole with large granite base at Immaculate Catholic School, Ithaca, New York, in memory of John C. Smith. This was created by the Tompkins County VFW with public contributions. It was dedicated November 11, 2002. USS Liberty was represented at the dedication by John Hrankowski.

A bronze plate created by the family of John Smith listing the names of the 34 men who died in the attack is on display at the National Cryptologic Museum near Fort Meade, Maryland.

The NO GREATER LOVE organization conducts a memorial ceremony every year on June 8 at Arlington National Cemetery at the six man gravesite.

A Memorial Plaque in memory of Captain McGonagle and presented by the Liberty Veterans Association is on permanent display at the US Navy Memorial in Washington, DC

A Memorial Plaque naming the 34 men who died in the attack and presented by the Liberty Veterans Association is on permanent display at the US Navy Memorial in Washington, DC

A Memorial Plaque in memory of the 34 men who died in the attack and presented by the Liberty Veterans Association is on permanent display at the US Navy Memorial in Washington, DC

A Memorial Plaque in memory of the Tom Hayden of Texas and 34 men who died in the attack was presented by the Liberty Veterans Association is on permanent aboard USS Lexington (CV-16). The ship is permanently berthed in Corpus Christi, Texas, as a museum

USS Liberty web site on the Internet at URL

USS Liberty remembered in Congressional Record 18 June 1997

Offline clayman

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Re: Grafton, Wisconsin
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2006, 09:01:05 AM »
I am not aware of any memorial service that preceded the Grafton library dedication.

« Last Edit: May 23, 2006, 03:23:26 PM by clayman »

Offline GreyLmist

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Re: Grafton, Wisconsin
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2006, 09:38:33 AM »

USS Liberty Memorials
Memorial carillon at David Adams Memorial Chapel (the base chapel) Naval Station, Norfolk, Virginia, dedicated June 8, 1969, in ceremony conducted by Chaplain David M. Humphreys, USN. The carillon was unveiled by RADM Ben Sarver and Captain McGonagle. >>

The link to that says: "Open the home page, and then look for links to the information you want." It may or may not have been a similar service but What is a Carillon?

A carillon is a musical instrument composed of at least 23 carillon bells, arranged in chromatic sequence, so tuned as to produce concordant harmony when many bells are sounded together. It is played from a keyboard that allows expression through variation of touch. >>
A Memorial brass plaque in memory of Duane Marggraf was installed at Lakeside Park in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, in the 1980s. In 1999, a local resident noticed that the plaque had been removed. After several letters to city authorities, no one seemed to know where the plaque had gone. Finally a city employee called quietly to tell Liberty friends that the plaque was in storage. Armed with this information, city officials were asked to restore the plaque to a place of honor. We are pleased to report that the Duane Marggraf Memorial Plaque is now (June 2000) displayed on a wall in the Court House. >>

There is no link to that but it appears above the Grafton listing. I tried to search the Congressional Record for the essay written by former Rep. Pete McCloskey (R-Calif.) and inserted by Rep. Andy Jacobs (D-Ind) but it only goes back online to the early '90s. I was able to find a copy elsewhere on the net and will reprint it in another reply. Here is a print out of the [pdf] Congressional Record linked last in the list:

TRIBUTE TO THE MEN OF THE U.S.S. LIBERTY -- HON. BOB FRANKS (Extension of Remarks - June 18, 1997)

[Page: E1253]



in the House of Representatives


Mr. FRANKS of New Jersey. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to the 34 men who gave their lives in the defense of the U.S.S. Liberty 30 years ago.

On June 8, 1967, the American intelligence ship U.S.S. Liberty was attacked during a grueling 75 minute strike in the Mediterranean Sea. The unarmed ship was defended with great honor and valor during the onslaught. The entire crew battled to keep the ship afloat after rocket attacks and a torpedo hit. Despite these debilitating attacks, the crew managed to save the ship and guide her safely to port. However, 34 American men lost their lives due to enemy fire and in attempts to save the ship.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this moment to pay tribute to the men who gave their lives in defense of the U.S.S. Liberty. This selfless act reminds us of the commitment that our servicemen and women demonstrate every day and the extreme dangers inherent in the defense of the U.S. Congress and the citizens of our country should be mindful of their sacrifice and valor.

This memorial shall serve as a tribute to the men of the U.S.S. Liberty who served their country so faithfully. I urge my colleagues to join me and applaud the actions of these men and their families and friends who keep their memory alive.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2006, 10:19:38 AM by GreyLmist »

Offline GreyLmist

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Re: Grafton, Wisconsin
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2006, 10:17:34 AM »
reprinted from the Congressional Record of September 7, 1989. It was inserted by Rep. Andy Jacobs (D-Ind), and consists of an essay written by former Rep. Pete McCloskey (R-Calif.) on the occasion of the dedication of said public library in Grafton, Wisconsin, named in honor of the USS LIBERTY naval ship attacked by the Israelis in 1967:

Jacobs: ". . . a strange controversy occurred in connection with the 20th anniversary of the Israeli attack on the USS LIBERTY.

"I believe that Mr. McCloskey's views and report are entitled to be examined by the membership - and I place the essay in the RECORD without the slightest animonsity toward Israel. Apparently somebody somewhere in Israel did a very bad thing in the case of the USS LIBERTY. People in our country have done bad things too. That does not mean that either country is essentially bad.

"But young American military men did die 20 years ago. And I think it is regrettable that our own Government had declined to participate in the memorial the little town in Wisconsin decided to make for these innocent victims."

Here is McCloskey's essay:

The USS LIBERTY, 1967 - 1989

A heartwarming event took place a few days ago in the village of Grafton, Wisconsin, population 10,000, 20 miles north of Milwaukee and surrounded by the rolling corn fields of southeastern Wisconsin.

It was an especially beautiful June day, bright and sunny, with a cooling breeze off Lake Michigan.

In a brief ceremony, the Town's leading citizens unveiled a simple memorial to 34 U.S. navy officers and men killed by Israeli torpedo, rocket and machine gun fire 22 years earlier, on June 8, 1967. The Israelis, on the verge of attacking Syria's Golan Heights, had unleashed a furious fighter-bomber and torpedo boat attack on the intelligence gathering ship, the USS LIBERTY, off the shores of Egypt's Sinai Desert.

The US flag had been flying in an 8 knot breeze during several earlier reconnaissance flights and every man on the LIBERTY believed that the attack was no accident. A US Secretary of State, Chairman of the Joints Chief of Staff and the Director of the National Security Agency have agreed with them.

Strangely enough, the dedication of the memorial with the names of the 34 dead US servicemen was the first public recognition of their sacrifice in the 22 years since the attack. There had also been 171 wounded from the crew of 294. No US naval vessel since World War II had suffered a greater percentage (69%) in battle casualties.

The honor to the 34 dead Americans, however, did not come from their Commander in Chief, the US Navy, nor their Senators and Congressmen.

Twenty two years after the fact, all but one of the political and military leaders of the nation, successors to those (for) whom the 34 US sailors had died that hot afternoon on June 8, 1967, were too afraid to attend or even send a congratulatory message.

That the ceremony was held at all was a tribute to two sturdy Grafton civic leaders and their wives, former Navy veteran Jim Grant and his wife, Carol, and John and Mari Dickmann. Grant was president of the Town's Board of Trustees, Dickmann the head of his own small manufacturing company in Grafton. Together they had organized the memorial event against bitter editorial opposition from Wisconsin's largest newspaper and from the Milwaukee Jewish community.

The stone memorial bearing the names of the 34 dead, including one Jewish boy, was unveiled by one of two US Navy regulars who attended, a Lt. Commander, who had been a Seaman 1st Class aboard the LIBERTY during the 1967 Israeli attack.

A former Navy combat pilot, President Bush, had been invited to attend. He didn't, nor did his office send the customary congratulatory message.

The Secretaries of Defense and of the Navy had been invited. Neither responded.

The Commander of the nearby Great Lakes Naval Training Station had been invited. Neither he nor even a Navy band was allowed to attend. No Blue Angels flew overhead. The clear words from on high was that no Navy personnel should dignify this particular memorial ceremony.

One solitary Chief Petty Officer, a recruiting officer from a nearby town, showed up. He tersely commented that he would have come even if the whole damn Navy Officer Corps had ordered him not to.

The remarks from the small podium in the afternoon sunshine were brief. The LIBERTY'S chaplain gave a moving invocation. The ship's captain, Commander McGonagle, wearing the Congressional Medal of Honor awarded him for having saved his ship despite severe wounds, thanked the President of the Town's Board of Trustees for the honor done his crew; the Chairman of the Grafton Library Committee, Mrs. Carol Schneider, raiser of over $1 million to build the new town library, gave a few words of thanks; the local state assemblywoman and state senator made a few remarks as did the American Legion Commander, the head of the Chamber of Commerce and a former congressman.

Two Liberty crew members, one officer and one enlisted man, gave USS LIBERTY crew jackets to the two elderly Grafton industrialists, Ben and Ted Grob, brothers who had preserved their machine tool company through the Depression years and who had contributed to countless Grafton charitable causes, large and small, before donating $500,000 for the new library. When the Grob brothers were invited by the Library Committee to name the Library after themselves, the Grobs had asked instead to name it for the USS LIBERTY.

The Grobs had read about the 1967 LIBERTY incident in a book, "Assault on the Liberty", written by deck officer Jim Ennes. Ennes' book had made it clear that the attack was deliberate, not accidental, and that the Israeli attacks on the LIBERTY'S life rafts were clearly intended to leave no survivors.

It is not easy to find Ennes' book in bookstores today, despite the fact that it sold out five printings. The publishers no longer find it politic(ally correct?) to publish and sell this particular piece of American historical writing.

The ceremony, on the lawn of the new Grafton Library, at least had marvelous music. The Lakeshore Philharmonic Orchestra, 20 volunteers strong, ages 16 to 60, opened with "America the Beautiful," then accompanied a talented local soprano in "The Star Spangled Banner," and finally, when the names of the 34 dead young Americans were slowly read, gave a soft rendition of "My Country Tis of Thee." There were few dry eyes among the surviving LIBERTY crew members and several hundred Grafton citizens standing on the lawn and in the adjacent street.

An honor guard of aging American Legionaires, mostly veterans of World War II, fired three volleys from M-1 rifles, which some of them could barely lift to the firing position; the orchestra rendered a final taps.

There was a brief tour of the new library, still without books, for the townspeople and 40 odd LIBERTY survivors and their families, following with lemonade and brownies (which) were served to all hands in the basement.

Almost last to leave were a quiet couple and their two adult children, the family of Seaman Jerry Goss, all from Fort Wayne, Indiana. Mr. and Mrs. Goss had lingered awhile to quietly gaze at the simple memorial gravestone with their son's name on it.

The Milwaukee Journal, once a great crusading newspaper, for over a year had written scathing editorials and news articles condemning the Grafton citizens committee and town leaders who had agreed to name the library after the USS LIBERTY. The Journal thought the name was "controversial and might evoke anti-Semitic feelings."

The Journal's article the next day was somewhat muted, devoting only half its words to the "controversy" the newspaper itself had created by terming the name of a US Navy ship as a rallying point for anti-Semitic organizations. The Journal's article stressed the Police SWAT team protection provided the ceremony, mentioned the attack as a "strange historical footnote to the Six Day War," Israel's claim that the attack was an accident, and that Ben Grob had once given campaign contributions to a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan and "other right wing causes." The article cited "some Jewish groups" who had said those who wished to memorialize the ship by naming the library were - at the very least - "insensitive."

To the crew of the LIBERTY, the real heroes present were the Grants and the Dickmanns who had weathered the personal attacks from the Journal and the greater Milwaukee Jewish community for the previous two years.

As Oliver Wendell Holmes, veteran of the 20th Massachusetts Regiment, wounded at Balls Bluff, once paraphrased: "The perils of civil strife can be greater than the battlefield."

As the two buses with the USS LIBERTY survivors and their families left the new library's parking lot, one man leaned out the window for a final salute to the American flag flying over the new monument and said, "Thank you, Grafton!"

What a nation had declined to do, a small town had done, with patriotism, warmth and class."

Offline Effendi

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Re: Grafton, Wisconsin
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2006, 10:18:51 AM »
I think this bottom line sums it up very clearly!!

34 American men lost their lives due to enemy fire.

Everything else regarding this case is smoke and mirrors.
In this media blitz we call cyberspace, clever poseurs on all levels claim that it’s not Jews, it’s Zionists; it’s not Jews, it’s Neocons; it’s not Jews, it’s Communists; it’s not Jews, it’s the Illuminati. All these labels are synonyms for Judaism, which is not really a religion, but a crime scheme

Offline clayman

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Re: Grafton, Wisconsin
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2006, 03:55:29 PM »
Strangely enough, the dedication of the memorial with the names of the 34 dead US servicemen was the first public recognition of their sacrifice in the 22 years since the attack.

Okay.  First public recognition.  Thanks.