Veterans Memorial Garden

Remembering the service of our veterans

by Sriyani Tidball

The veterans of our military services have put their lives on the line to protect the freedoms that we enjoy. They have dedicated their lives to their country and deserve to be recognized for their commitment.

                                                            —Judd Gregg

Take a walk through the beautiful memorial garden located in the middle of Lincoln’s historic Antelope Park at 3200 Veteran’s Memorial Drive. It is a walking tour of over 21 military monuments. This beautifully landscaped park honors our fallen veterans who served our country during different wars. and serves as a permanent and solemn reminder of the sacrifices veterans made to preserve the freedom that we all enjoy everyday.

In 1989, a traveling Viet Nam Memorial Wall came to Lincoln during the first week of June. It drew over 80,000 local residents. This meaningful exhibit was deeply moving to many Lincoln residents—everyone knew someone personally who served. The traveling Memorial Wall was originally placed in a ball-field. After the exhibit, the ball field became a venerated area for many people—it was never just a ball-field again.

After the 1991 Persian Gulf War some Lincoln residents banded together and engaged the community in finding a way to honor all veterans who fought or died in American wars. This wave of patriotism and pride resulted in the Veteran’s Memorial Garden.

The Veteran’s Memorial Garden Advisory Council was formed. They oversaw the design, programming and preservation of the Garden area its memorials. The Mayor of Lincoln appointed the Council. These volunteer members were committed to creating a place that promoted events honoring veterans, past and present, and their families.

Military Memorials are scattered around the Veteran’s Memorial Garden. Twenty individual memorials stand in the Garden today to include: Airborne, After 1980, All Airmen, American Merchant Marine, China Burma India, Disabled American Veterans, Ex-Prisoners of War, Family, K-9 Unsung, Korea, Marine Corps, Military Medical, Peace Time, Pearl Harbor, Pre 1900, Purple Heart, Seabees, Special Forces, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy Armed Guard, Vietnam, Women’s Veterans, World War I and World War II, and Buffalo Soldiers/Tuskegee Airmen.

There is a directory of the brick honorees in the garden. A Brick of Honor is available for all veterans, living or deceased, who received an honorable or general discharge from the Military. Bricks are placed on a wall next to the memorial. All proceeds from brick sales go to improvements and maintenance of the Veteran’s Memorial Garden which is maintained and cared for by the Lincoln Parks and Recreation. The director of Lincoln Parks and Rec, Lynn Johnson, has a special love for this garden because it brings so much honor to so many.

Many garden events are held at the Veteran’s Memorial Garden on special days that honor veterans—Memorial Day, Patriots Day, Veteran’s Day and Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. On these and other holidays, all 46 flags fly in commemoration. On the second Saturday in June, an annual dedication of newly placed bricks is held to dedicate all new Bricks of Honor in the garden and to celebrate Lincoln’s unique Veteran’s Memorial Garden and its honorees.

Ron Lechner, Chairman of the Veteran’s Memorial Garden committee, helps manage the garden. He said, “This is such an awe inspiring place to come There are people who come here and cry; who come here and smile; who walk through the garden with their dog; it does not matter who you are, you should come here.”  Ron Lechhner is a veteran who served his country for 40 years in the Air Force. He loves to come here to remember and just enjoy this place that recognizes the sacrifices made by our veterans. As Maya Angelou once said, “How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!”

Admission is free, donations are accepted.

Private support is essential. If you have questions or need help navigating our new online donation system please email us at director@lincolnparks.org or by phone 402-441-8258. For more information about the garden and events, please contact Ron Lechner at (402) 560-3342

 

 

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