An idea by one person, former Marine and now a Master Gardener, Ben Kinel, led to the transition of a piece of property which was grown up with weeds into a beautiful Memorial Garden honoring our Veterans. Through six years of perseverance and a lot of hard work, this weed patch was transformed by many volunteer workers into a real show place on a location most folks call the "Gateway to Branson".
The Branson Veterans Memorial Garden was founded in 2008 when Kinel secured a long term lease from the owners of the property at Silver Dollar City. He then set about contacting local businesses and individuals, asking for contributions of money and materials to make the garden a reality.
Thanks to the generosity of a number of Branson residents who thought his idea had merit, he was off and running. Landscaping was the first order of business. Being on a hillside, the site had to be terraced to hold the planting beds. Next, truck loads of rocks were hauled in and earth moving machines strained to move huge rocks into place and dig holes for some pretty large trees that were donated. Then came the top soil to back-fill the planting beds behind the rock retaining walls. Finally, huge amounts of fertilizer and compost were added to the beds. Then the perennial plants and shrubs were strategically placed and last came the bedding plants to add color. Later, a watering system was installed to keep everything alive and growing.
Over the years, many minor changes have been made and quite a few new perennial plants have been added. Mulched walkways lead our visitors throughout the garden. Benches are available for those who wish to sit a spell and smell the roses. We also added a water feature, a gazebo and some art work. Each year, new ideas are implemented. The garden is always being improved.
This Veterans Memorial Garden is a gathering place for anyone who wants to remember those who sacrificed so much, and to celebrate the lives of the fathers, mothers, sons and daughters who so gallantly served to protect our great nation. This Garden is a public statement by the Branson Community to those who live here and to our visitors, to honor and remember the military personnel from all branches of services and from all wars.
Veterans and their families always enjoy the garden. Branson is home to the largest Veterans Celebration in the U. S. The garden has become one of our most visible attractions, not only for Veterans, but also for anyone intrigued by the beauty of nature. We encourage you and your friends to visit us soon.
And Remember, Freedom Doesn't Come Free!