LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) Members of the military consider the men and women they serve with family. The bond they share is often referred to as a brotherhood.
A group of Marines recently came together to show a La Crosse family the incredible strength of that bond in life and death.
Those who knew Oscar Peterslie say the La Crosse man lived the Marine Corps motto, Semper Fidelus or always faithful, every day of his life. The tech sergeant faithfully served his country during World War II. He left the service shortly after the war, but the Marine Corps never left him
When Oscar died in March, the Peterslie family asked Staff Sergeant Benny Guzman for a set of dress blues to display at Oscar's funeral. Guzman gave the family his uniform and his admiration. "He left us a legacy. We stand on his shoulders. We don't have the right to let our heroes down."
Lending the Peterslie's his uniform wasn't enough. After trading war stories with Oscar's children, Guzman needed to do more. He enlisted the help of Master Gunnery Sergeant Brad Chandler; together they designed a shadow box.
The Marines purchased the medals Oscar earned during the war, along with a set of dog tags. Then they asked Oscar's children for a picture and the shirt and tie Oscar wore home from the war. "I took his tie out and it still had starch on it. Since 1945-1946 it still has starch on it as if he put it on yesterday."
Neither of these men served with Oscar Peterslie. In fact, they never met him. But; they consider Oscar their brother and a man worthy of recognition. "We stand on the shoulders of giants. Even though he's a pretty little guy, by all accounts, he was a giant. He was part of our history. We absolutely look up to these guys."
The Marines told the Peterslie family very little about their project. They never expected this. "It's like looking at my dad hanging on a wall. It couldn't be more beautiful. It couldn't be more of an honor and tribute to a man who deserves to be honored."
A man honored by the men who would have proudly served beside him. " I hope we can live the life that he set for us. He set the bar. He set it high."
You may recognize Oscar's name. He worked at The Pearl ice cream shop in downtown La Crosse for many, many years. Oscar's son TJ owns The Pearl. The Peterslie children plan to display the shadow box there.
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