This Memorial Day, North Lakes Academy Charter School student Evan DuFresne will be researching the life of Private William J. Bremer, an American service member who is memorialized at the Normandy American Cemetery. DuFresne and his teacher Christopher Stewart are charged with telling the untold story of Private Bremer as part of the Normandy: Sacrifice for Freedom Albert H. Small Student and Teacher Institute.
This institute takes 15 student and teacher teams on a journey through history. Each team selects one silent hero who died during or after the D-Day landings and spends months researching the story of this brave American through readings, historical research, and primary sources such as war records, draft cards, and family interviews.
Students and teachers then follow in their silent hero’s footsteps as the institute takes them to walk the beaches of Normandy, France. While there, DuFresne will deliver a grave side eulogy for Private Bremer in the Normandy American Cemetery. To complete this task, DuFresne is asking anyone who knew this Silent Hero or his relatives to get in touch with Stewart.
“In my research, I discovered that Private Bremer attended Cretin High School from 1928-1930, which at the time was a private military academy,” DuFresne said in a press release. “He participated in debate and was on student council. I also discovered that both his mother and sister died when he was five and that his family moved around St. Paul quite a bit. He lived with his sister Henrietta before marrying Norma Schmuck of St. Paul. But, as far as I know, Private Bremer has no living relatives.”
DuFresne was excited to learn that Private Bremer has a local connection.
“After Pvt. Bremer’s death, his wife moved to Forest Lake, my own home town,” he said. “She married a local biology teacher, Herbert Harper, and became a prominent member of the town. I would like to find out more about Private Bremer, as we were similar ages and both wanted to serve our country. I am particularly interested in seeing any physical artifacts, photos, letters, or items that help tell his story.”
If you knew Private William J. Bremer or his family, contact Stewart at [email protected]