City Celebrates Veterans Monument Completion
On a brilliant Saturday morning with American Flags flying in the breeze, the community gathered on the city’s Town Center to celebrate the dedication of its new veterans’ monument. It was a culmination of a years-long dream that began in 2015.
Friends, families, veterans, dignitaries, city leaders and hundreds of well-wishers joined in the ceremony on June 15 that featured all the pomp and circumstance of a military affair including music by the 116th Army Band Georgia Army National Guard, Pledge of Allegiance led by local Cub Scout Pack 575, speeches, prayers, and the long-awaited unveiling of the sculptures that represent the branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. Located on the 2-acre Town Green, over 400 attended the dedication and unveiling ceremony of the new monument.
“This was an important day for our community and a historic one for our city,” said Mayor Mike Mason. “We are proud that we are able to present a monument that represents our gratitude for the men and women who have served our great nation, and for those who are serving now.”
The monument, located on the city’s Town Green, features a 2,500 square-foot plaza. Mounted on a central pillar is an eagle atop a globe representing the presence of the U.S. Armed Forces across the world. Surrounding the central pillar are five sculptures representing each of the Armed Forces and one sculpture to honor the veterans of the National Guard, Federal Reserves and Merchant Marines. Kent Feuerbach of KLF Hardscapes built the plaza and granite bases for the sculptures which were donated by renowned artist Chad Fisher.
The monument also features an interactive component that allows visitors an opportunity to hear veterans narrate their own stories via a kiosk at the monument entrance. The monument plaza includes engraved stone benches and is lined with customized brick pavers donated by families and friends.
To get this project off the ground, it would require a strong leader, dedicated board members and nearly 50 volunteers to propel it to completion. It required countless meetings, fundraisers, and many hours of outreach efforts. Led by Bob Ballagh, a long-time resident and retired Army colonel, the Peachtree Corners Veterans Monument Association was formed. The men and women of this non-profit organization oversaw the design of the monument and sculptures, its location, corresponded and scheduled the veteran interviews which would be the interactive component of the monument and countless other details.
“It took close to 40 or 50 volunteers,” said Bob Ballagh. “We had nine board members, all contributed in some way, and a core volunteer group who kept track of the veterans and communicated with them via mass email and another who managed the orders for the engraved pavers.”
The design for the layout of the pavers was done by Eagle Scout candidate Troy McGahren, who came up with a systematic design so that visitors could easily locate the personalized bricks using the kiosk app.
More than 800 separate private donations from 646 individuals or businesses contributed yielding more than $429,000 in private donations to date. The paver count, 705 thus far, represent veterans from the American Revolution to the current operations in the Middle East, Four Prisoners of War from WWII and Korea and three Medal of Honor awardees.
“We had tremendous support from our local businesses,” said Ballagh. “Their support and help with everything from waiving cost for printing and video services, architectural concept drawings, legal services, kiosk and app package, and electrical work. We also offer our gratitude to Chad Fisher who donated his artistic talent and love of sculpture with his gift of the seven bronze sculptures.”
Some 400 attended the Veterans Monument dedication on Saturday, June 15. Cub Scout Pack 575 led the Pledge of Allegiance. The ceremony included the unveiling of the seven sculptures depicting an eagle atop a globe representing the presence of the U.S. Armed Forces, five sculptures representing the five branches and one to honor the veterans of the National Guard, Federal Reserves and Merchant Marines. The monument is located on the Town Green at the city's Town Center.