Camellia Gardens ceremony today, new look revealed

  • Published
  • By Lanorris Askew
  • 78th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
The annual Camellia Gardens Memorial Service - which pays tribute to the men and women who have served their country from Robins Air Force Base - will take place today at 10:15 a.m. in the gardens across from Horizons.

A reception will follow at Horizons.

The service, which is a 36-year tradition rooted in a partnership between Robins, the Middle Georgia Camellia Society and the Robins Regional Chamber of Commerce, will have a new backdrop according to Chaplain (Capt.) Jeffrey McMillen, 78th Air Base Wing chaplain.

"The Camellia Gardens team was tasked by Col. (Mitchel) Butikofer, (78th Air Base Wing commander,) to give the memorial a refreshed look," he said.

Through a teaming effort which included the memorial team, 78th Civil Engineer Squadron, Youth Center and the Hobby Shop, that new look will feature fresh landscaping as well as a new look to the memorial wall.

At the garden's entrance are the names of 1,782 deceased military and civilian Robins' members who have been honored. As the list of names has grown annually, space became an issue so a redesign of the name plaques in a uniform size and location is also part of the facelift.

"It's a phenomenal breath of fresh air to this long-standing tradition, McMillen said. "It looks the best I have seen it look since I was stationed here in 2009. It shows our community the continued support we have honoring the memories of our fallen Team Robins members."

The facelift also included the removal of 14 dead trees and the replacement of the sprinkler system as well as the inclusion of the Air Force shield and the newly-designed Team Robins shield.

The project, which has been in the works for about 2 months, will yield a beautiful memorial and those who walk through will have much better vistas.

All military should wear the uniform of the day and civilians should wear business attire for the ceremony.