Louis and Murph, 2006

On Saturday, May 20, 2006, there were only two Rosandich brothers left to place the Legacy Stones honoring the seven who had served in the military during World War II and the Korean Conflict.

Side by side, on “Armed Forces Day,” they knelt to place the two granite stones in a walkway on the hallowed heights of The Highground veteran’s memorial park.  For Louis, now 81 years old and Murph, 75, it was a culminating moment, one full of family pride and patriotism.

Later, the two brothers paused to reflect on legacy of wartime service that began on a peaceful dairy farm along County Highway W southeast of Granton. For Steve Rosandich, his wife Katherine and their 13 children, life on a farm during the Depression years had a call to duty all its own, with chores enough for every one of them.  “Everybody worked,” said Louis, a former Wood County UW-Extension agent now living in Wisconsin Rapids.

And so it came to pass, that for Joe, the eldest son, the call was to stay on the home-front, with a farm deferment, as the first battles of the war began to rage.

Not so for the other Rosandich brothers, Murph, a retired school teacher now living in Lodi, WI, remembered their dutiful march to war, starting with Michael., the second oldest of the Rosandich brothers who was drafted into the Army in the early days of WWII.  “I was only 12 when he went in, but I was proud.  We all were,” Murph recalled.

Brother John was next in line to serve his country.  Drafted into the Infantry, he was seriously wounded during the Allied invasion of Italy.  He spent several months in a hospital, his recovery from his wounds in serious question.  Louis remembered his mother being nearly sick with worry during that time.  “She prayed,” he remembered, “a lot.”  John was later awarded the Purple Heart for his valor and bravery in combat.

Steve was the third of the Rosandich brothers answering the call to duty.  Sent to Normandy, France, he saw action in the Battle of the Bulge.

Thomas also went to Normandy and was in the first Allied army to cross the Rhine River.  He was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in combat action.

The Rosandich family back at home were fearful for their safety.  Back then, telegrams, all too often, carried terrible news to families back home.  “You hated to see the mailman come,” said Murph.

As World War II ended, Louis was called to serve in its aftermath.  The demand for troops overseas was waning, so he was stationed at Ft. Lewis, WA as a member of the Army Medical Corps.  These days, Louis makes light of it.  “I was a bed-pan commando,” he said, jokingly.

America was soon at war during the Korean Conflict of the early 1950s and so were the youngest of the Rosandich brothers whose time to serve had come.  Like their brothers before them, they answered the call to duty.  Murph was first assigned in the 101 Airborne and later was transferred into the Chemical corps.

The youngest brother, Nick, was sent to Korea to serve along the dangerous 38th parallel zone.

Throughout the years, and the wars, the Rosandich family was steadfast in its support.  “We were a very patriotic family,” said Louis.

And the Rosandiches obviously have remained so in the decades since.  Louis and Murph, the last of the Rosandich brothers still living, were hardly alone last Saturday.

Surrounded by the families of the 13 sons and daughters of Steve and Katherine Rosandich, the two men, soldiers still in spirit, proudly put the Legacy stones, simply listing the first names of the Rosandich brothers, in their eternal place.

“This was a tribute to the boys,” Murph said.

“They all deserve to be here more than me,” Louis added.

Murph had a final thought for the family members, other relatives and friends at The Highground that day.  “Just a reminder,” he said, “whether you served in combat or not, your service to our country was important.”

And certainly something to be proud of.


Clark County Press (Neillsville, WI)
May 24, 2006, Front page
Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.