BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — You can see the 80-foot tall flagpole long before you actually reach the Camp Hamilton Veterans Memorial Park.
The idea to install it was first discussed in 1995, coming to fruition around 1999. But recently, its memorial base has needed some love.
“With time and weathering, the paint was all coming off and it didn’t look great, so I took a look at it and I was like, 'This is something that needs to get done,'" said 16-year-old Aiden Moore.
Aiden is one badge away from becoming an Eagle Scout.
For his Eagle Scout project, he decided to renovate some of the memorials at Camp Hamilton.
“We’re appreciating our veterans and it means a lot to the camp who’s served us, [and] it means a lot to the veterans," he said. "I'm glad that I can help the camp and make it look good for our local veterans."
Aiden led a 40-person team in repaving the bricks, and cleaning and repainting the monument under the flagpole.
“Once this was all painted, [we] put the letters back on. We polished all the brass and now it looks much better," said Aiden.
They cleaned several of the smaller monuments too, repainting their pedestals and lettering.
“There’s seven of these and they’re all for branches that served, and they’re all for different wars that the U.S. served in," said Aiden.
Aiden’s team also replaced the flags representing the different branches of service, and the 20 by 30 foot American flag.
He spent around 150 hours just planning and fundraising, plus around 80 hours of manual labor.
"It’s not about me, obviously. This project, it’s about the veterans because what I'm doing is I'm restoring a memorial that needs to be restored so that people can understand what they stand for," said Aiden.
Aiden hopes his project makes this year’s Memorial Day extra special and helps Kern County veterans feel seen and appreciated.
“I am proud of this nation and the veterans that have helped to protect this nation," he said. "I will do anything to support them.”
Camp Hamilton is hosting a free Memorial Day event with its gates opening at 12 p.m.
Eight trees will be dedicated to fallen veterans with their friends and family members present. There will be various vendors and food, along with a raffle too.
All community members and veterans are invited.
Camp Hamilton is located at 34999 Lerdo Highway.