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5/31/2017 - Hamilton to Mark 10th Anniversary of Fallen Soldiers During Park Rededication Ceremony

Hamilton to Mark 10th Anniversary of Fallen Soldiers During Park Rededication Ceremony

It was during a six month period that Hamilton Township lost two soldiers serving in Iraq.

On Christmas Day 2006, military police officer Eric Wilkus died from non-combat injuries sustained in Iraq.  Six months later, Army Sgt. Eric Snell made the ultimate sacrifice, also in Iraq.

The two heroes shared the same first name, attended the same high school – though years apart – and were honored with a memorial at the same township park less than a quarter mile from their high school.

On June 17, 2017 – almost ten years to the day of Snell’s sacrifice, the heroes’ hometown will remember both soldiers at the park (Snell & Wilkus Memorial Park, formerly known as Shady Brook Park) that was dedicated in honor of their memories.  The ceremony will take place at 11 AM.

“These two soldiers lost their lives for the sake of our community and our nation; and it is important that we help remember their sacrifices, as well as those made by other Hamiltonians who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedoms,” explains Hamilton Township Mayor Kelly Yaede.

The ceremony will feature participation by the Marine Corp. League - Trenton Detachment Color Guard, the Hamilton Township Patriotic Committee, local clergy, a student vocalist from the same high school that Snell and Wilkus attended, and members of the fallen soldiers’ families.    

Also during the remembrance ceremony, township officials will pay tribute to two other fallen Hamiltonian, Army Sgt. Keith Buzinski and Army 1st Lt. Omar Vazquez, each who made the ultimate sacrifice in 2011.  Memorial park benches dedicated to these fallen heroes will be installed in Snell & Wilkus Memorial Park and unveiled during the ceremony. 

The community is also currently working on a project to honor the legacy of every Hamiltonian who lost their lives in service at another township park
(Veterans Park).  To date, the Hamilton Township Patriotic Committee has confirmed 86 Hamiltonians who made the ultimate sacrifice dating back to the Civil War.     
   

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Note:  For Directions, the public entrance to Snell & Wilkus Memorial Park is located near the intersection of Pitman and Reeves Ave, in Hamilton Township, which is in close proximity to Interchange 61 of Interstate 295 in Hamilton.  The street address - 27 Reeves Ave, Hamilton Township, NJ 08610 – can be used to locate the park.