By Melissa Bower, Fort Leavenworth LampJune 18, 2009
FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (June 18, 2009) - A new garden on post honors Fort Leavenworth Soldiers deployed in the past, present and future.
Members of the Fort Leavenworth Chapter of the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club and community gathered June 12 at the new garden along the historic Dragoon Wall on post. The beautification project along the wall included weather-hardy plants and two yellow rose bushes.
Sgt. 1st Class Shaun Coker, president of the Fort Leavenworth Chapter of the SAMC, said the yellow rose symbolizes friendship, caring, happiness, joy and freedom.
"Whether it be a yellow rose to an incoming spouse in a command element or a yellow ribbon on a tree, Soldiers and their families see these yellow objects as the symbol of hope, love and caring that they will soon be rejoined together from the sacrifices of their loved ones from their country's mission," Coker said.
Members of SAMC, a group of elite noncommissioned officers, will provide the upkeep of the garden on a regular basis. Coker said he would like to extend the garden with two additional plots along the ends of the wall.
Coker said that with Fort Leavenworth's increasing number of deployed Soldiers and families affected by deployment, the garden could be a symbol of support.
"The yellow roses of this garden will be here to honor and symbolize the desire for all those Soldiers deployed to keep safe and make it back home to their loved ones."
The historic Dragoon Wall is along Kearney Avenue, north of the statue of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant. It first appears in most maps, photographs and illustrations of post in 1872, but some think it was constructed much earlier. Coker said an effort in 1903 was made to have the wall removed, but was instead restored. Coker said his community choir group once took care of a garden near the Dragoon Wall, but the choir was disbanded.
"It is the hope of the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club to have this garden continue to expand, grow, and be a symbol of caring, happiness and freedom for anyone that walks by," Coker said.
Command Sgt. Maj. Philip Johndrow, Combined Arms Center and SAMC member, said the dedication of the Dragoon Wall was the end of a daylong celebration of the Army, which included an Army birthday celebration and fun run, and the largest graduation ever from the Command and General Staff College's Intermediate Level Education course.
Johndrow said it was fitting to honor deployed Soldiers and families.
"That's why I'm glad to be an American Soldier," he said. "It's because all of you that we serve shoulder to shoulder with everyday."
Coker thanked the staff from the Directorate of Logistics and Public Works for preparing the garden site and providing tools, and the Leavenworth-Lansing Nursery where SAMC obtained the plants.
Coker said because the Dragoon Wall is on a regular running route for Soldiers, he hoped many would enjoy the garden.