For more than a month, the memorial to the victims of the Waukesha Christmas Parade tragedy has stood in Veterans Park. And now, volunteers are pouring teddy bears, wreaths and candles one by one to preserve what they can for a permanent commission to come in the next few months.
“As a community, we are united in our grief and our purpose is to help those experiencing trauma,” Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly said at a ceremony Wednesday. “We have demonstrated that we will not allow the evil of tragedy as we are defined, but to show that we are defined by our compassion and solidarity.”
Six crosses stand in the center, each dedicated to a life lost in the parade. Wednesday morning, the process began to move the memento out of the harsh elements of winter and hand it over to the Waukesha County Historical Society and Museum, as community members continue to grapple with the loss.
Resident Mary Jane Sanchez said: “It was horrible. “A lot of people in our community witnessed and, you know, were affected by the parade. And this memorial really serves to heal people and give everyone a place. to grieve and come together.”
Ryler Pudleiner was marching in the parade with his classmates in the Waukesha South High School band when he collided. While Pudleiner says he has a long way to go in his recovery, he knows he has to get to the closing ceremony and hopes to return to the parade next year to thank everyone for their support.
“I think it’s just going to be fighting the mental side of things and things like that,” Pudleiner said. “But at the same time, I want to be there to support everyone else and you know, my friends, and not let him or anyone else stop us. You know, don’t let the community shut down. move for it.”
In that spirit, Mayor Reilly recently announced the creation of the Waukesha Christmas Parade Standing Committee, which he says is designed to function as a partnership between the city and community leaders to Find out the best place to honor the victims.
“We have come together as a community to continue to support those who experienced the worst of that day on November 21, and that we will continue to recover and heal,” Reilly said.
Now, the decision for the permanent committee rests with the Waukesha General Council. And while Mayor Reilly said the permanent decision could be anytime, the goal would be before the one-year anniversary of the tragedy.