Our View: Veterans garden and labyrinth a jewel in downtown Auburn

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   Next to the State Theater is an oasis.
   There are beds of vegetables, luxuriant and emerald. Roses offer glints of color.
   There is a fountain with water trickling out a soothing melody.
   And now there is a labyrinth, circle upon circle of inviting pathway.
   This is a place of peace and reflection, a subtle but inspired addition to downtown Auburn. It is officially known as the Armed Forces Pavilion & Garden.
   The labyrinth, delineated by bands of brick, marks the final phase of the garden project, which has come together over two and a half years.
   This has been a collective project, involving generous donations from local businesses. Mostly, though, it has been achieved through the generous donations of time and sweat and good cheer by volunteers, veteran and non-veteran alike.
   On Saturday, a garden showcase event was scheduled, featuring the garden as the endpoint of a 111-mile motorcycle ride fundraiser. Facepainting and music were offered.
   It seems so fitting that those who have served and fought, enduring so much, have a garden now where they can relax and meditate. The garden is open to all, a refuge from a world of much uncertainty. A refuge for young and old, Auburnite or visitor.
   The garden is a testament to the Forgotten Soldier Program, based in Auburn and led by Donna Arz.
   The program works to reintegrate veterans into the broader community. It provides counseling and therapy to veterans, along with other resources, from acupuncture to holistic nutrition.
   And so, in true Auburn fashion, something special has been born, crafted lovingly by hand, the product of patience and vision. A place of tranquility in a turbulent world.
   If you haven’t, stop by the oasis at 991 Lincoln Way. If you’d like to defray ongoing expenses, such as the garden’s monthly water bill, visit the website of the Forgotten Soldier Program at
   ~ The Auburn Journal