BRUNSWICK (NEWS CENTER Maine) — The old chapel at the Brunswick Naval Air Station is home to a museum which is where it is for a reason.
"These gardens are why the museum chose to be here," said Jeff Smat. "Our first mission was to maintain these gardens."
The gardens were planted and have been maintained for 50 years by the Harpswell Garden Club. In 1968, two P-2's with 11-man crews were lost off the coast of Vietnam. It is believed both planes were shot down by anti-aircraft fire.
That summer the Garden Club started a project which lasted longer than the base from which the flyers were deployed.
"I think gardens bring your soul close to the earth," said Becky Gallery of the club. "To me, it's a very relaxing and peaceful way to spend a day, to go out, get your hands dirty and bring something else to life."
Retired Navy Cmdr. Bill Locke flew P-2's out of the Brunswick Naval Air Station during the Cold War. He remembers Russian subs sounding like "cement mixers" on America's sophisticated listening systems.
He points out that the gardens are important because most of the lost flyers from Brunswick went down at sea.
"As a result, they have no gravestone in a nice cemetery. So, this garden is the closest thing their families have to come to visit."
The Brunswick Naval Air Station Museum and Memorial Gardens are open Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays from 1-4 p.m.