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Neligh Man Continues With Memorial Tribute To Fallen Soldier From O'Neill Unit

Aug 28, 2011 Updated Dec 19, 2021

A Neligh man is still working diligently on a memorial to one of Northeast Nebraska's fallen. 

Jerry Peterson of Neligh has been working on a memorial to the late Jacob Schmuecker. He was killed   on Saturday, July 21, 2007, in Balad, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device detonated next to his Hum-Vee during a convoy escort mission.

Sgt. Jacob S. Schmuecker, 27, was a member of the Nebraska Army National Guard's 755 Reconnaissance/Decontamination Company based in O'Neill. A native of Atkinson who lived in Norfolk, Schmuecker left behind his wife, Lisa, and three small children.

Peterson got to know Schmuecker through Jacob's grandfather who introduced them and they met only once.

The death of Schmuecker promoted Peterson to build a memorial in 2010 which is located on Peterson's property which is in Neligh on Highway 275 that  runs through Neligh.

Peterson has been adding to the memorial since 2010 with additions  of 27 ears of  corn for the age of Jacob Schmuecker at the time of his death, 45 small crosses which represent the 4,500 soldiers who have died in Iraq. Also new are flags that represent each branch of the military; a Nebraska State flag and an American Flag which were both donated by former Gov. Mike Johanns when he was in office; a flag featuring the yellow ribbon a National Guard flag and a Fallen Soldiers flag.

Jerry said he would like to add a  MIA/POW flag someday as well as putting the names of the fallen soldiers from Nebraska on the back of the memorial sign. Jerry and his wife encourage people to stop and look at their tribute to a fallen soldier.

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