Waldo Bertoni's West Point Cadet Uniform

Wilbur Smith's WWI Uniform

Mayor Bill Glaze at the Dedication Ceremony


Former Teacher of some of the Hahn's:
Margaret Lanterman

Some of the audience with the Hahn's in front
of the new Military Uniform Cabinets

Waldo Bertoni Presenting Plaque to the Hahn Family

Museum Military Uniform Cabinet Dedication Speech
by Col. Waldo Bertoni, Ret.

We are here today to dedicate this uniform display case that was made possible by funding from the Harry Hahn family and by the craftsmanship of Chick Holmes.

I'm here at this time because I've probably  spent more time in uniform than anyone in Mt. Pulaski.  I left here when I was 18, and in my next 64 years I spent the first 34 in uniform.  The one in the case with all the brass buttons is one of my first .

While Mt. Pulaski's history only dates from 1836, the history of our citizens in uniform starts with the Revolutionary War and includes every war since then.  Our cemeteries reflect this service.

This is a nation of polls, and one such poll is on which occupation has the highest public approval.  Invariably, military service has received the highest rating.  To maintain this rating we must guard against blaming our soldiers for the circumstances they have been placed in by our politicians. One of our blackest moments occurred during the Vietnam War.  Our returning soldiers were vilified by many Americans. It was so bad that many were reluctant to wear their uniforms in public.  Even now supposedly religious people try to demonstrate at military funerals, and Hollywood delights in making movies critical of everything relating to the military.

The uniforms in this display should remind us that these are our fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, friends and neighbors.  They have served and are serving in war and in peace, doing difficult tasks assigned by our elected leaders.  They and the uniforms they wear deserve our honor and our respect.

At our Rotary luncheons each Thursday at Buff's, we start the luncheon pledging our allegiance to the flag and our republic.   We have added a sentence to the pledge. It goes  "I pledge my support to our servicemen and women who are serving that flag at home and overseas".

I hope you, too, will make that pledge.

Since these uniform display cases were funded by the Harry Hahn family, I would like to say a few words about Harry.  The last time we saw Harry was here at this museum.  Every time I see a Lincoln impersonator I can't help thinking he just isn't Harry Hahn!  For that matter, when Harry put on that black suit and stovepipe hat, he wasn't Harry Hahn -- he was Abraham Lincoln!  Meeting Harry gave you an eerie feeling, as if you were seeing and talking to a man who has been dead for over 140 years. 

There will never be another Harry Hahn.  How we do miss him.