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Waukesha Christmas Parade memorial to be unveiled two years after tragedy

A dedication ceremony will take place Tuesday at 4:39 p.m.
Posted at 8:10 AM, Nov 21, 2023

MILWAUKEE — Two years ago, Tyler Pudleiner spent the night of November 21 in the hospital. He was one of dozens injured when a man drove his SUV through the Waukesha Christmas parade in 2021. Six people were killed that night.

"It's been a tough week, you know it's coming up and I'm dreading it," Pudleiner said of the day.

Pudleiner suffered internal injuries, had damaged teeth among other injuries.

"There's bits and pieces that have come back," Pudleiner said of his memories of that night. "The main thing is pushing through. It's sort of a mental battle too."

In the days following the parade, as victims recovered and families grieved, storefronts in downtown Waukesha tapped up blue signs reading "Waukesha Strong" and hung up blue lights.

"That aspect is really what meant a lot to me, is how much the community came together to support all the victims and families that were affected," Pudleiner said.

Now a more permanent memorial will stand on a corner of the Five Points intersection downtown. A dedication ceremony will take place Tuesday at 4:39 p.m. Families of those who passed away are expected to speak and the Dancing Grannies will also be in attendance.

"It's just a really important, meaningful reminder for the community of what happened and the pain that we went through. But more than that, the strength of the community and how the community came together," said Waukesha Communications and Engagement Manager Rebecca Pederson.

And although it's a day Pudleiner has come to dread, he said he'll also be at the ceremony, standing side-by-side with his Waukesha Strong family.

"I feel like it will bring the community back to where we were at. Something I want to see continue for a long time," Pudleiner shared.