0

City of Snellville breaks ground on new veterans memorial

A mock-up of the new Snellville Veterans Memorial stands on the town green on Saturday during the groundbreaking for the project. (Photos: Deanna Allen)

A mock-up of the new Snellville Veterans Memorial stands on the town green on Saturday during the groundbreaking for the project. (Photos: Deanna Allen)

photo

From left, Snellville Mayor Pro Tem Tom Witts, former Mayor Pro Tem Barbara Bender, former councilman and architect Chad Smith and Tommy Hill with Serenity Falls Water Gardens LLC break ground Saturday on the Snellville Veterans Memorial, which is set to be completed before Veterans Day 2013.

photo

Rodney Smith, right, of Williamson, waves a flag during the groundbreaking Saturday for the Snellville Veterans Memorial. His daughter is a Snellville resident.

photo

Snellville Mayor Pro Tem Tom Witts invites the public to purchase bricks and pavers for the new Snellville Veterans Memorial. (Photo: Deanna Allen)

photo

Members of the Patriot Guard Riders flank a mock-up of the Snellville Veterans Memorial during a groundbreaking for the new structure Saturday.

SNELLVILLE — Beside a mock-up of the future structure, complete with a flame that burned for several minutes, the team responsible for bringing the Snellville Veterans Memorial to the town green broke ground on the project Saturday.

The new memorial will serve as a tribute to veterans of the armed forces and will feature the city’s reignited eternal flame.

The flame burned for 20 years at the city’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial up until late 2005, when it was extinguished and the memorial was moved to the new City Hall on Oak Road.

Saturday’s groundbreaking went on despite some rainfall, the rumble of thunder and lightning visible in the distance. The mock-up was flanked by members of the Patriot Guard Riders, a national organization of motorcycle enthusiasts who attend military-related events, while members of the Snellville American Legion Post and VFW Post 4180, as well as the public, looked on.

The groundbreaking ceremony preceded fireworks Saturday night that were rescheduled from the city’s rained out Fourth of July event.

Under the banner “Freedom is Never Free,” Snellville Mayor Pro Tem Tom Witts, a veteran himself, invited all present to be part of the project. The public is invited to purchase bricks and pavers in honor or in memory of a veteran. The city needs to sell about 200 more bricks before its Oct. 1 deadline to reach its goal of $70,000 to pay for the memorial. The city has thus far raised about $50,000 toward that goal.

The city plans to reignite its eternal flame and unveil the new memorial by Veterans Day.

Rounding out the committee, all of whom are donating their time and work for free, are former Mayor Pro Tem Barbara Bender, former Councilman and President of CAS Architecture Chad Smith, Tommy Hill, an Army combat veteran and owner of Serenity Falls Water Gardens of Snellville, and engineering specialist and West Point graduate Bob McCann.

For more information or to purchase a memorial brick or paver, visit www.snellvilleveteransmemorial.org or call 770-891-1612.