Just off and Lerdo Highway, near Highway 65, sits Camp Hamilton Veterans Memorial Park.
Master Gunnery Sgt. Glenn Denton started the Veterans Memorial Park over 40 years ago as a way to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
“Here they’re remembered and honored,” Denton said. “Every community should have a place where they can remember those who fought died or at least served to keep our freedoms. Having this takes some of the grief off knowing that they’re not forgotten. That people are reading their names and thinking about them.”
Every year on Memorial and Veterans days, a ceremony is held dedicating new trees to fallen heroes.
This year, five new trees were dedicated to soldiers who gave it all.
“It’s a living memorial, so every time you come out and look at a tree you can remember that person that fought for our freedoms,” director Todd Dearmore said. “Sometimes it’s easy to forget what we have today, but there’s brave souls out there standing up fro our right to be free in America.”
Dozens of people show up for every ceremony, like Carol Van Pelt.
Van Pelt lost her husband Budd Ray in February of 2011. That year, on Memorial Day weekend, a tree was planted in his honor. The two were married 31 years.
“He was a very proud American,” Van Pelt said. “Also a very proud service member. The army was good to him, he was good to the army. It taught him a lot.”
Twice a year Van Pelt and a group of friends come out to Camp Hamilton to remember him, bringing him a fresh Smirnoff Ice, his favorite.
“He’s never going to be forgotten,” Van Pelt said. “He was loved very very much and the fact that all of these people are willing to come out here and honor him every time they have a service out here means a lot to me. I think everybody in the United States own our veterans that courtesy to honor them, to thank them for their service.”
For more information in the camp, and how to dedicate a tree click here.