Welcome Statement - John Creek Veterans Memorial
The Johns Creek Veterans Association and the City of Johns Creek welcome you to the Johns Creek Veterans Memorial Walk and we trust that your visit will be both informative and inspiring. Our mission is to recognize those who have served, those who now serve, and those who will one day provide service to the five branches of the United States military.
From the winter of (1777-78) when the ill-clothed men of Gen. George Washington’s Continental Army endured freezing temperatures and an excess of associated miseries, while encamped at Valley Forge, brave men and women have answered to the call to help. The resolute patriots who birthed our nation and ensuing generations of men and women have repeatedly placed themselves in harms’ way to uphold our concept of Freedom. Those individuals have suffered death, torture, severed limbs, burned bodies, broken bones and lengthy separations’ from loved ones to attend the greater cause of our nation. More recently, post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD, formerly known as shell shock or battle fatigue has taken an emotional toll on many who survived the battlefield experience of land mines, hand grenades and bullets. Those horrendous costs were incurred to preserve our rights to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness! It is to this heritage that the Johns Creek Veterans Memorial Walk is dedicated.
Your tour begins here at the well-appointed Entrance Forum where the service flags of the Army – Navy – Air Force – Coast Guard and Marines rest high atop their respective flagstaffs. As those proud emblems unfurl to the prevailing breeze, one cannot but recognize that they symbolize the men and women who have served and continue to serve our nation so very well. Whether one is native born or naturalized as an American citizen, our traditions of equality and justice were bought and the debt paid by those who fought and died under those five service ensigns.
The Flag Known as the Stars and Stripes
Sitting atop another flagpole is the flag of our nation. It is the beloved symbol that is known as Old Glory, The Stars and Stripes, or the Star Spangled Banner. The words to that hymn were written by Frances Scott Key during the War of 1812. They were then set to music and some years later adopted as our National Anthem. Frances Scott Key penned those lyrics while detained aboard a British Man O’ War, a ship that was anchored as an unwelcome guest in Maryland’s Baltimore Harbor.
From his unique vantage point, Key witnessed the fearsome shelling of Fort McHenry. British warships pounded the fort throughout that long night and Key had but little hope that the fort could survive. However, with the breaking of dawn on the morning of September 14, 1814, the second year in that long ago war, Key was amazed to see that the flag still flew. That tatty pennant then became the inspiration for the stanzas that were to become our national anthem.
The Commemorative Plazas
As you visit the Piazzas along the Memorial Walk, --- plazas that commemorate our nations’ military engagements from WW-I through Iraq and Afghanistan, it is our expectation that those who visit will become intensely aware of the price that has been paid to ensure our American way of life.
The Walk begins at the granite bench honoring Vince and Barbara Dooley atop the stairs on the left. The first of the designated piazzas is a tribute to those who served during the long ago battles of WW-I. From there, the squares are in sequential recognition of those who persevered during – WW-II – Korea –Vietnam – the Gulf War – Afghanistan and Iraq.
Specific Areas of Recognition
An additional plaza is dedicated to the Women who have served. From the musketeers of Washington’s era until now, women have stood beside their armed men to shoulder the burdens of warfare as nurses and coequal members of the armed services. And today, brave women fly jet fighter planes and command ships. In addition, they take on the mundane and exhaustive tasks of any and all who wear the uniforms. The women of America have done themselves and our nation an extensive array of the military jobs for which they and we can all be quite proud!
Still another plaza is to recognize Recipients of the Purple Heart. They are the members of the Armed Services who were killed or wounded while engaged in combat related actions. Many of those who were injured will never again be made whole. And, throughout the remainder of their lives, they will continue to suffer the debilitating after-effects of warfare.
An additional plaza is in remembrance of those who became Prisoners of War or were declared to be Missing in Action. This plaza is devoted to sustaining the memory of those who endured such fates. Many from among those captured were cruelly tortured while held prisoner. From the horrors of the Japanese imposed Death March in the Philippines during WW-II, --- to the brutality at North Vietnam’s Hanoi Hilton, --- captured Americans have been subjected to appalling measures of suffering at the hands of America’s enemies.
Black Granite Benches -- Paver Bricks
When contemplating inscriptions on the black granite benches or pausing to peruse the engravings on the bricks lining the memorial coves, --- all donated in honor of someone who served, --- it is our belief that each visitor will take with them a renewed sense of pride and patriotism in our great nation, the most incredible nation ever to grace the planet earth.
We trust that you have enjoyed your visit and we thank you for coming. For those who
Desire to remain and contemplate, we invite you to sit for a while in the beautiful gazebo at the end of the Veterans Memorial Walk. The gazebo was donated by the Knights of Columbus at the nearby St. Bridget’s Catholic Church.