A community comes together to honor past, present and future veterans

Image 1 of 3

Gwinnett Technical College kicked off the Memorial Day weekend with great honor and reverence dedicating a New Veterans Memorial that will stand to honor servicemen and women.

The custom-crafted memorial stands on the front lawn of the Lawrenceville. The centerpiece of the memorial is the bronzed boots and dog tags of Marine Sgt. John-Thomas (J.T.) Stokes, a recent graduate. The dog tags are woven into the laces of the boots as they sit atop three textbooks, symbolizing the important transition many veterans make from enlistment to education. The bronze piece sits on a granite pedestal carved with the inscription, “Honoring Veterans Past, Present and Future.”

Two reflection benches face the memorial. Etched on the benches are the words “Freedom Is Not Free” and “Never Forget.” Five flagpoles encircle the memorial flying proudly the flags of each branch of the armed forces.

Dr. D. Glen Cannon, President of Gwinnett Tech served as the master of ceremonies for the dedication service, then offered a grand countdown, “3-2-1,” and the bronze monument was unveiled. The crowd burst into applause as student veterans from each military branch raised their respective flags.

Dr. Cannon remarked, “This ‘Boots to Books’ monument symbolizes Gwinnett Tech’s efforts to welcome and provide as much assistance as possible to our veterans as they make their transition to a new phase of their life and second great, successful career. We are proud of our educational programs, grateful for all those who served in the military, thrilled to help in some small way to repay them for their service, and ready and willing to welcome them into our GTC family.”