1,500 Reminders Of Service To Make Sure We Never Forget

1,500 Reminders Of Service To Make Sure We Never Forget

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MONROE TWP., N.J. -

There was supposed to be a small army of volunteers to help plant American flags at the Gloucester County Veterans' Cemetery Friday.

But that army apparently surrendered to a cold, steady rain and brisk winds.

Butch Kammer and his fellow cemetery workers did not wait for reinforcements.

"Rain don't stop anything," he told FOX 29's Bruce Gordon. "They never stopped a war, or any kind of fighting. They kept right on going."

Kammer is a 69-year-old retired letter carrier who spent three years in the Army in the 1960s. He served in Korea, and never forgot the experience.

"I'm a veteran myself," he says, "and I'm proud of what this cemetery stands for."

Now, he works full-time maintaining the grounds at a facility set up nearly a decade ago as a final resting place for local men and women who've served their country.

On this day, the assignment is the placement of 1,500 flags in front of gravestones that remind us of the times and places and circumstances under which Americans fought and died.

Kammer, like the others, was cold and wet, but determined.

"The men and women that are buried here deserve it," he said. 

Gloucester County Freeholder Joe Chila showed up to dig holes for the flags. Monotonous work, until you spot a special stone denoting the grave of a local kid who made the ultimate sacrifice.

"I just saw D.J. Bentz is buried over here," said Chila. "Killed in Iraq the first year (2007) that I was a freeholder. So, to stop for a second and, there's DJ. And this is what he did for our country. And he's here."

On Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m., Kammer, his fellow veterans and their families will be back at the cemetery for a special Memorial Day ceremony. There'll be a wreath laying, and rifle salute and taps, all of the ways we honor our veterans on special holidays.

Kammer says he gets angry when folks forget the sacrifice made by those lying beneath this ground.

And so, on this weekend at least, he said, "We're going to make sure our veterans here in Gloucester County get what's owed them."

It's a debt that cannot be fully repaid, but should never be ignored.

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