By Johnny Jackson
Workers are making progress in repairing the Veterans Wall of Honor, according to Henry County government officials, who hope to have repairs completed for Memorial Day services.
"The caps on each of the stairs leading up the grand staircase of the Walk of Honor have also been replaced," reported Julie Hoover-Ernst, county communications director. "And we expect to take delivery of stylish, new trash receptacles very soon, thus helping to preserve the tranquil beauty of the site."
Joanne Consalvo-Mulvaney, the monument's visionary and founder, said she is glad to see the repairs and improvements made to the wall.
She was inspired to launch the project to build the monument several years ago by her late father, Joseph Consalvo, a World War II veteran, who encouraged her to pursue the creation of a monument honoring all service men and women.
"The Veterans Wall of Honor is a beautiful monument that needs to be cherished and held to the highest honor, for it is sacred ground and represents, honors and pays tribute to all of our active-duty troops and veterans, peace and war-time alike, from all 50 states," said Consalvo-Mulvaney, who herself is a U.S. Navy veteran.
She and others involved with maintaining the monument have put together a list of needs to preserve the wall of honor, which opened to the public in 2008. The monument sits on about 2.5 acres of land within Henry County's Heritage Park, located at 101 Lake Dow Road in McDonough.
"The major concern I have for the Veterans Wall of Honor is the cracks [in its concrete sidewalks]," Consalvo-Mulvaney said. "My big concern is water getting underneath those cracks in the concrete and undermining what's below that."
The sidewalks are expected to be repaired in coming days. Hoover-Ernst said the county has already begun constructing new wheelchair-accessible sidewalks connecting the Veterans Wall of Honor to the POW/MIA monument.
The sidewalks should provide greater access for the roughly 300 people expected to attend the May 31, Memorial Day Program.
Hoover-Ernst said the program will include a presentation of the colors by American Legion Post 55. The Union Grove Honor Guard will present a memorial wreath, and Bryan Lovett is slated to sing the National Anthem and "God Bless America."
Henry County Commission Chairman Elizabeth "'B. J." Mathis will give brief remarks, preceding a memorial address by Maj. Phillip Ash, of the United States Marine Corps. Ash is a Bronze Star and Gold Star awardee who currently commands the Marine Corps Recruiting Station in Atlanta.
"On this Memorial Day, may we all remember that 'all gave some, some gave all,'" Consalvo-Mulvaney added. "I pray that, as the years pass ,the Veterans Wall of Honor is properly maintained, and its upkeep reflects the true love that our community in Henry County feels toward our troops and veterans, and the many sacrifices they have made ..."
For more information about the Veterans Wall of Honor and the Memorial Day Program, visit www.hcprd.org.