The sacrifices made by veterans and their families will be honored with a memorial garden that the Village of Silver Lake is creating this year.
The Veterans Tribute Garden will be built midway between two oak trees at the town hall and a local church, near the Silver Lake Witness Tree,
While the Tree of Witnesses aims to raise awareness of the mental effects of returning from war, the Tribute Garden will specifically commemorate the service rendered to the country by veterans and, by extension, their immediate loved ones.
Silver Lake Mayor Bernie Hovey pitched the idea for the project to Reverend John Schluep in September. Schluep worked on the Witness Tree project and runs a nonprofit, The Warrior’s Journey Home, dedicated to helping veterans overcome mental issues associated with military service.
“He said, ‘I want you to consider chairing a committee to build a veterans’ memorial here in the village.’ And so, I agreed to do that in our conversation,” Schluep said. “There are veterans’ memorials across the country. But families are often forgotten. We do not remember spouses, children, parents.
Schluep’s committee includes veterans and civilians with family members who served. He said the idea is receiving positive feedback from community members.
“Those I’ve shared it with are very positive about it. They’re very grateful for someone publicly acknowledging that they’re family,” Schluep said. who served in the military. They think of their parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles who served in all eras.
The tribute will have a circular layout with a centerpiece acknowledging all branches of the military. Plants will populate the tribute area, as Schluep mentioned in wanting nature to be part of the memorial.
Additionally, community members can commemorate the military service of their loved ones by purchasing name inscriptions on cobblestones that will form the site’s pedestrian zone.
The committee estimates the memorial will cost at least $80,000, with adjustments still being made to the final design.
Funds for the project will be raised through direct contributions from local businesses and residents. Donations can be made by check to the Village of Silver Lake
with the Veterans Tribute Garden put on the memo line.
“We try to do a lot of solicitations and personal visits,” Hovey said, from “people we know and businesses who want to donate.”
Work to install the garden will take place throughout the summer, with Hovey hoping to complete the project in time for a public dedication ceremony scheduled for Veterans Day.
“I hope this is a place where people can come and remember the people who have served their country, remember the families who have been in that service, and just meditate and honor and enjoy our garden,” Hovey said. .