It’s been 11 years since the September 11th terrorist attacks, a day which prompted many men and women to join the armed forced to protect our country and our freedom. And some gave the greatest sacrifice, their lives. 12 of those men were remembered in Camden as a new park was created in their memory.
CAMDEN, N.Y. -- "He was a fantastic human being. He was someone that no matter how little you ever met him or spoke to him he somehow touched your life," says Karen Evans and Roswell Greene, while remembering their brother Lieutenant Colonel David Scott Greene.
"His motto was to live life with adventure and to follow your dreams because tomorrow may never come. And that's what he did," said Kate McLaughlin, the mother of Sergeant Christopher Simpson.
12 names, 12 soldiers, and 12 sons killed at war. These young men were remembered on Sunday at the official opening of Freedom Park in Camden. A place where family and friends can grieve the loss of their loved ones and the community can thank them for their service.
A father of a fallen soldier said during the ceremony, "These men serve and sacrifice their very lives because they cherish freedom and our way of life. In America, a loss of a soldier is a loss for us all."
The idea for this park began more than a year ago. The Camden Cycle Riders headed the project with the desire to create a place of common ground where all 12 men from the Oneida County area could be remembered equally. They wanted to create a personal memorial that sits close to the community's heart.
Mike Waterman, an Oneida County Legislator said, "Not that it's any greater loss than anyone else's experience within the country, but we really wanted to focus on the 12 soldiers who dedicated themselves to this country from Oneida County."
But organizers say this park could have never happened without the help and financial support of community members and Oneida county businesses.
Frank Bergin, the Camden Cycle Riders Chairman said, "So we built a wall and we started selling pavers and everyone in Oneida County, businesses, families has joined in to make this possible."
And for family members, this park is more than a name on a plaque. To them, it means the world.
"There's really no words to describe it. It's amazing, I love the fact that people don't forget," says McLaughlin.
Karen Evans and Roswell Greene said, "It just means that people haven't forgotten the people that are defending our freedom."
The Camden Cycle Riders say they will continue to improve upon the park. They plan to spend at least $80,000 to make this park the best it can be. Freedom Park officially opens to the public on Monday.
The first planned addition to the park will be a new wall to honor and remember more than 60 men from Oneida County who served in the Vietnam War.