Did You Know the Sculpture at Red Arrow Park Is Actually a War Memorial?  

It pays homage to a group of World War I heroes.

This Memorial Day, pay your respects to a group of World War I heroes at Red Arrow Park. The 32nd Infantry Division of the Army National Guard – made up of over 20,000 men from Wisconsin and Michigan – defeated 23 German divisions. French troops were so impressed, they gave the group of soldiers a fearsome nickname – Les Terribles.



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The 32nd pierced the German’s previously unbreachable Hindenburg line, as well as every other German line of defense it encountered. This led to the adoption of the unit’s insignia and new name – the Red Arrow. But the victories came at a heavy cost – over 2,000 Red Arrow Division men were killed in action, and more than 11,000 were wounded.  

When the war ended, the men of the 32nd formed the 32nd Red Arrow Veteran Association. “The purpose is to continue the camaraderie,” says David Sands, the organization’s president.  

The 32nd remains an active brigade in the National Guard. Its heroism during WWI has been lauded across Wisconsin, including at Red Arrow Park. In 1984, the red granite arrow that stands there today was dedicated to the heroic division that gave the park its name.



This story is part of Milwaukee Magazine’s May issue.

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Archer is the managing editor at Milwaukee Magazine. Some say he is a great warrior and prophet, a man of boundless sight in a world gone blind, a denizen of truth and goodness, a beacon of hope shining bright in this dark world. Others say he smells like cheese.