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
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.
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.