Published: May 26, 2014 5:18 PM EDT
Updated: May 26, 2014 6:27 PM EDT

(CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla.) - While thousands of American troops are fighting overseas, soldiers from generations past are fighting another battle at home.

Veterans in Charlotte County are working to help their community to never forget.

The Memorial Day crowd in Punta Gorda's Laishley Park is living proof that Charlotte County is a community full of heroes.

"They're a big part of the community," said Maj. Laurence Altenburg, who addressed the crowd at a ceremony Monday morning.  "Without (veterans), this community would not be what it is today."

Altenburg served as a Marine for 27 years.  He has called Charlotte County home for five years, and says something is missing.

"Charlotte County is a big county," Altenburg said.  "We don't have anything on the west end...The majority of the people living in Rotonda are veterans."

Altenburg and the roughly 1,800 other veterans in the Rotonda area want to build a seven-acre park next to American Legion Post 113.

"Over the years, as history comes and goes, it takes on a little less importance," said Leroy Furman, the commander for Post 113."If you talk to some of the young people around here today, and you talk about World War II, you talk about Korea, you talk about Vietnam, they don't know what it is."

Furman is spearheading the project, which will cost nearly $700,000 for a 200-seat ampitheater, two gazeboes, benches and 13 war monuments on county-owned land.

Earlier this month, Furman and his fellow veterans asked the Board of County Commissioners to pay for the park through a one-percent local option sales tax, which voters will decide on in November.

Commissioners placed the park on a list of recommended projects to be covered by the tax revenue.

"It's just a need," Furman said. "There is a need to have something in this area you can look at and say, 'Veterans, you can come here, and you can be appreciated.'"