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UNG Memorial Wall honors deceased alumni

COL Tom Palmer, commandant of cadets at the University of North Georgia, stands in front of the University of North Georgia's Memorial Wall during comments at Memorial Retreat during the 2013 Parents-Alumni Weekend held in April.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the University of North Georgia's Memorial Wall, which stands on the Dahlonega Campus in honor of the university's alumni who died in service to the United States. MAJ Richard Neikirk, assistant commandant of cadets at UNG, talks about the monument.

When was the wall built?

The Memorial Wall was erected in 1982 and memorial ceremony proceedings were established that year. The memorial was designed for the Alumni Council by Steve Gallant, a former university staff member and Dahlonega architect, to remember the university’s alumni who died in service to their country. On April 30, 1983, the memorial was dedicated by GEN Bill "Lipp" Livsey, who graduated in 1952 from then-North Georgia College and is the university’s only four-star general, one of the U.S. Army's highest officer ranks. Livsey continued to honor the memory of these individuals in his return appearance at the 20th anniversary and earlier this year at the 30th anniversary.

In 1986, "Freedom's Vigil," a sculpture of an eagle in flight by former art professor Bob Owens, was donated by the Alumni Association and added to the Memorial Wall area.

On April 22, 2006, the memorial was expanded with the addition of the Lost in Combat Memorial, recognizing university alumni and students who have been killed while combating terrorism around the world since Sept. 11, 2001.

Who is honored on the wall?

Encompassing the campus' flag pole, the memorial is inscribed with the names of the university's fallen heroes as a lasting recognition of their service in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the global war on terrorism. A lamp representing an eternal flame stands beside the Memorial Wall to show that their sacrifices will never be forgotten and will always be seen during the brightest of days or darkest of nights.

A total of 174 names are inscribed on the wall, including 13 killed in World War I, 113 killed in World War II, 12 killed in the Korean War, 29 killed in the Vietnam War, and seven killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Are ceremonies held at the wall?

Memorial Retreat has been held during Parents-Alumni Weekend each spring since the wall was erected. The retreat features a guest speaker—this year, Livsey returned to speak—and the placing of a wreath. Also, the names of other alumni, students, faculty, staff and friends of the University of North Georgia who have died in the past year are remembered during a ceremonial "Roll Call" identifying each individual by name during the annual Memorial Retreat Ceremony. This specific tradition shows respect to all by sharing the memories of all who are named.

Ceremonies marking Memorial Day and Veterans Day also are held at the Memorial Wall.

Every day, the American flag at the Memorial Wall is raised during Reveille and lowered during Retreat. As has long been the tradition, all pedestrian and vehicle traffic in the area stop during each of these ceremonies and pay respect to our nation's colors.

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