JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – The Johns Creek Veterans Association and the city of Johns Creek will conduct a ceremonial groundbreaking Nov. 9 for the Johns Creek Veterans Memorial Walk in Newtown Park featuring acclaimed author and Vietnam War veteran John M. Del Vecchio as the main speaker.
Del Vecchio wrote the seminal Vietnam War novel, “The 13th Valley,” which was a finalist for the American Book Award in 1983.
The New York Times Book Review said, “There have been a number of excellent books about Vietnam ... but none has managed to communicate in such detail the day-to-day pain, discomfort, frustration and exhilaration of the American military experience in Vietnam.”
The 4-acre Veterans Memorial Walk will be a meditative memorial in a quiet portion of Newtown Park. It will consist of a landscaped trail with black granite memorials for each major conflict dating to World War I. The entrance plaza will have a brick sitting wall and flags for each branch of service. A gazebo will rest amid the walking paths. Completion is tentatively set for Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2014.
“The Memorial Walk is intended to keep alive the memories of our military men and women and their major influence on history,” said JCVA President Gerry Lewis. “It’s important to remember their sacrifices, and we believe the Veterans Memorial Walk will be a unique and moving tribute. I’m especially pleased to have John Del Vecchio as the keynote speaker. His novels preserve the experience of a generation of those who served.”
The project is estimated to cost about $200,000. The JCVA is accepting donations (online or by check) for the monuments, benches, entrance plaza, a gazebo and engraved pavers to be located near the monuments.
The groundbreaking ceremony begins at 10 a.m. at 3125 Old Alabama Road in Johns Creek.
Del Vecchio will be available for book-signing after the ceremony, but attendees should bring their own copies of his book, as books will not be sold at the event.
Del Vecchio was drafted and sent to Vietnam in 1970 where he served as a combat correspondent in the 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile). In 1971, he was awarded a Bronze Star for heroism in ground combat. He has written four books and is a military/political commentator for FOX News. He is also a founding member of Charlie Foxtrot Entertainment.
Questions about Johns Creek Veterans Memorial Walk should be directed to JohnsCreekVets@gmail.com.