Veteran Voices: Barton Co. Memorial Park

BARTON COUNTY, Mo. —We have brought you many stories out of Lamar involving a piece of property that was once home to the Barton County Memorial Hospital and over the last 2-years, has been transformed into the Barton County Memorial Park. The focus is on one of the soldiers honored there.

“I don’t like any war. And my heart goes out to all the men and women that are fighting,” said Sheri Lanz Keltner, Liberal.

The reason for that hits very close to home for Sheri Lanz Keltner of Liberal.

“My uncle Wallace Nathan Lanz. He is my dad’s oldest brother, and on September 12 of 1944, he along with several other young Barton county men, left to go off to service. He was 20; they sent him to the Philippines,” said Lanz.

The front lines in the Pacific theater, with deadly consequences.

“May the 16th, 1945 he was killed in action while defending his position. A gunner advancing on the enemy, I guess you would say, and he was shot. And they tried to provide medical treatment to him but it was just… they couldn’t.”

Well before Sheri was even born. But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t miss the uncle she never knew.

“Just anytime the tapes are played or even the national, National Anthem – a tear comes to my eye because I realized my uncle made the sacrifice he made for our country and the fact that I never really got to know him,” she said.

That sense of loss gives Sheri an even deeper sense of appreciation for the Barton County Memorial Park, and specifically the space dedicated to local lives lost.

“It’s a place that I can actually reflect and remember the sacrifice that my uncle made along with those other 68 men.”

“Barton County sent roughly 2000 men off to World War Two and 69 never came back,” said Joe Davis, Barton Co. Memorial Park.

While this memorial is a physical reminder of their sacrifice, it can also give grieving families something more.

“A lot of these men didn’t make it home. They were buried somewhere else, you know, their body was unrecoverable, or they were buried somewhere else,” added Davis.

“I’ve never seen anything like this myself. I mean, I just think it’s beautiful,” said Lanz.

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