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Jonesboro, American Legion announce veteran's memorials

JONESBORO — Joy Day thought she hit a gold mine while she was in Dahlonega with her grandson earlier this year.

Day saw white crosses with names and American flags on them. It was around Memorial Day and the crosses were put out by Dahlonega officials to honor dead service men and women who had hailed from the city.

That got Day, the mayor of Jonesboro, thinking about doing something similar in her city.

“They had all of these crosses with American flags lined up in a row and I thought, ‘What a wonderful way to honor people who served in the military,’” said Day.

Such a scene will soon be seen in Jonesboro. The city is partnering with American Legion Post 258 to put up crosses and flags for veterans who lived in the city and had served in the military at any time after the U.S. entered World War I in 1916.

The crosses would be placed along major thoroughfares, such as Main and Smith streets, and North Avenue, said Day.

There is not yet an estimate of how much the project will cost, but Day said the American Legion has agreed to be its funding sponsor.

The goal, she said, is to have crosses ready before Nov. 11, Veterans Day. Jonesboro residents must contact City Hall, beginning Sept. 1, to request a cross be made for particular veteran, though. Each resident can request up to five crosses. The rules are based on criteria set up for a similar project done in Duluth.

“I have long admired what Duluth has done,” said Day. “They’ve been doing something like this for years and they may have been the first city around here to do it, so I went online and looked up the criteria they used so we could have something on which we could pattern our criteria.”

The idea behind the crosses and flags is that city officials will place them every Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Once a cross is made, it will be used until it wears out.

Day said there will be no requirement that the deceased veteran had to have served in a military conflict.

“If you served during Vietnam, Korea, World War I, World War II or Desert Storm, you could have remained stationed in the United States and still be considered a veteran as far as I’m concerned,” said Day. “Everybody has to serve a role in some way, even if they never fight in a war.”

The city announced the project in its newsletter, which arrived in resident’s mailboxes this week. So far, Day said she hasn’t received any feedback. She hasn’t ruled out the possibility that the project could someday lead to the establishment of a Jonesboro Veterans Day ceremony along the lines of a ceremony held in Forest Park.

Such a ceremony could be held in Lee Street Park, which is scheduled for redevelopment, she said.

“I could see, with our new park, a Veterans Day ceremony being a natural evolution of this project,” she said. “I would hope so at least. My father was a decorated veteran and I think it’s very important that we continue to honor the brave men and women who served in our armed forces.”