It’s Memorial Day weekend, and many of us are celebrating the end of the school year and the beginning of summer. For others, the Memorial Day holiday marks a time to honor those men and women who served their country, and died defending the American dream.
Snellville Mayor Pro-Tem Tom Witts not only wants to remember our veterans, he is one himself. While Snellville had had a monument with an eternal flame to honor its Viet Nam veterans at its former city hall, once the new city hall opened in 2005, the monument was relocated but the eternal flame was not relit.
Two and a half years ago, Witts decided to change that. After realizing it would be impractical to relight the original monument, he set out on a mission to build a permanent Snellville Veterans Memorial.
Then former City Council member Barbara Bender introduced Witts to Chad Smith, who was willing to help. Smith’s firm, CAS Architecture, designed a new memorial that would include an eternal flame, a water feature, and tiles that would honor veterans from all wars, not just Viet Nam. Now, all that was left was to raise the funds to build it.
The idea spread through the community. The Snellville Farmers Market donated money it had earned from vendor fees to the project. The Greater Eastside Chamber of Commerce made a contribution. Others came forward to donate funds or expertise. The official groundbreaking was held last August, with hopes the memorial could be complete in time for Veterans Day that November.
Various obstacles delayed construction until this year, and Saturday night, the eternal flame was lit and the Snellville Veterans Memorial was dedicated.
Peach Pundit has given its share of grief to some of the political stunts that have occurred in the city where “Everybody’s Somebody.” The completion of the Veterans Memorial is worth noting. Residents and the community came together to show Snellville is a place where everyone can be “Proud to Be Somebody.”
If you have a chance, stop by the memorial, at Oak Road and U.S. 78, and pay your respects. You’ll be glad you did.
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.