Veterans’ Garden Revamped at Local Cemetery

Garden Revitalized by Local Volunteers

HERMANTOWN, Minn. – The Veterans’ Garden at Sunrise Cemetery has been around for quite a while, but in recent years, the monument fell on disrepair. Now, thanks to a local organization, the garden has been revitalized.

“My friend and I walked the cemetery, visit our husbands’ graves, and then we happened to come down this way and it was very badly neglected,” says Denise Carlson, who helped organize the Veteran’s Garden project.

Denise and fellow members of the Daughters of the Nile decided to fix the Veterans’ Garden.

“I just thought that, you know what? We need to make this a live place again An honoring place,” says Carlson.

Since last August, they’ve worked to remove trees, pull out weeds, and plant flowers.

“We had a lot of laughs,” says Vicki Johnson, who worked on the project. “We were a bunch of women, we were filthy dirty, and we enjoyed every minute of the experience.”

The American Legion donated money for the project and Sunrise Cemetery provided a new flag pole. Every year, the cemetery makes sure flags are displayed at the graves of fallen veterans.

“We want it to look good for the families when they get here so they have good memories of their loved ones, not bad memories,” says Bart Porter, CEO of Sunrise Funeral Home and Cemetery.

Now, the revamped garden is almost complete, just in time for Memorial Day.

“It’s important to have a symbol like this, whether it be a monument or our garden, for a place that we come and we never forget what our military men have done for us,” says Johnson.

It gives anyone paying respects a place to stop and reflect.

“We wanted it to be someplace that somebody could come, sit on the bench, think about a few things in life, or their loved ones that are all here,” says Carlson.

Upkeep of the monument will be needed year round, but the Daughters of the Nile say the work is worth it.

“I think there’s a lot of cemeteries and gardens for military people that are probably neglected and if different organizations could go out and take care of a garden it would be wonderful,” says Johnson.

The Sunrise Cemetery has a Memorial Day service Monday at 10:00 a.m. featuring live music and military speakers.

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