ROSWELL, Ga. – Veterans groups turned out at Roswell’s Faces of War Memorial Aug. 16 to protest city plans to move it.
Roswell is in the planning process to create a town green between City Hall and Ga. 9/ Canton Street. To do so, the city is looking to cut down a swath of trees and put in a lawn. However, the Faces of War Memorial, dedicated to soldiers and the wars they fought in as well as the victims of the struggles, stands in the middle of the proposed site. The Downtown Development Authority, which came up with the town green plan, has recommended moving the memorial to one side of the green.
Some veterans groups and community members have opposed this move, saying the memorial should stay where it is.
Members of the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association joined with residents and other veterans to protest the move. In the audience of about 20 veterans were men and women who served in just about every war since World War II – Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. They ranged in age from the very young to the very old. But all were there to show solidarity.
Raul Moreno, one of the leaders of the event, served four tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. He lives in Roswell.
“We are not fighting anyone here. We are trying to promote the memories here,” Moreno said. “We gave a lot. All we are asking is to let us keep this. I truly believe this is sacred ground.”
The Faces of War Memorial is the site of Roswell’s Memorial Day ceremony, one of the largest in the state.
Roswell resident Janet Russel, who worked in Vietnam during the war, said the memorial was not about honoring war, rather the opposite.
“This memorial was never about a war. It’s about the faces of war. War doesn’t just affect soldiers. It affects us all,” she said. “This is a healing place. The men of my generation are so sad.”
Moreno has started a Change.org petition started to keep the memorial as-is. It is seeking 3,000 signatures.