Mayor Pro Tem Tom Witts, who is orchestrating the project, said he was disappointed the tiles with the names of about eight servicemen were apparently stolen. But the ceremony will take place as scheduled Saturday, he said.
“It was probably kids,” Witts said. “They probably thought, ‘Hey let’s see what’s in these boxes.’”
The tiles, which were in the process of being put up and in a box near the memorial, went missing after 6 p.m. Tuesday and before 8 a.m. Wednesday, Witts said, adding “We will not be deterred.”
The tiles will be replaced and put up when they are completed after the ceremony, Witts said.
A ceremony leading up to the unveiling of the city’s Veterans Memorial will begin at 4 p.m. Saturday with music from the Soul Purpose band followed by the Paris Dancers. The ceremony will feature a presentation of the colors by the Georgia National Guard, military vehicles, artifacts from the Gwinnett Veterans Council War Memorial Museum, inflatables for children and food provided by Texas Roadhouse and food trucks. Snellville Police Department Officer Thaddeus Clark will sing as well.
At 7:30 p.m. the dedication will begin with guest speakers state Veterans of Foreign Wars Commander Ron Keller and Col. Bruce Chick, director of Domestic Operations, Georgia Department of Defense. Between 8:15 and 8:30 p.m., the eternal flame which will rest at the top of the memorial, will be lit.
The memorial is dedicated to veterans of all wars and is located in the front of City Hall on Oak Road. The memorial features a “Wall of Veterans,” an eternal flame and a waterfall.
The monument has been funded through donations and the sale of bricks which will feature the names of those who have served our country.
Witts announced the plan to relight the city’s eternal flame in November 2011 after it was extinguished on the Vietnam Memorial when it was moved to the site of the current City Hall in 2005. The flame had burned at the previous City Hall since 1985.