A new memorial garden to remember students, faculty, staff and alumni who died in service to their country and democracy will be dedicated on April 13 at 11 a.m. The garden and a Book of Remembrance, which were funded by private donations, are located near the corner of Baldwin Street and Sanford Drive.
“The memorial is apolitical, going beyond issues of whether any particular war was good or bad,” says Loch Johnson, Memorial Garden committee chairperson and political science professor. “It is a tribute to those who lost lives: to the men (and women, if we should have any in the future) who answered when called and who died in the line of duty.”
An inscription in the garden will read: “Their names shall live forevermore. In grateful remembrance of University of Georgia students, faculty, staff and alumni who have fallen in defense of democracy and their country.”
The design elements for the Memorial Garden encourage reflection and a sense of quiet and respect. The garden includes a granite circle as a symbol of wholeness and continuity upon which the inscription is chiseled. The garden also includes a small wooded area to evoke a sense of calm and renewal. Behind the wooded area will be a low wall where visitors can sit. Granite pavers and granite benches in front of the woods signify strength and endurance.
In addition to the garden, the site includes an electronic Book of Remembrance in the adjacent Student Learning Center. The book will include the names of honorees who died in combat or training and will also include the names of those who died in public service.
The Book of Remembrance will display names of honorees listed alphabetically since 1785, along with class year and the year of final sacrifice.
“I got the idea for this memorial in 2000 when I was at a university in New England and I saw they had a tribute to their fallen students, faculty, staff and alumni,” says Johnson. “I knew we had Memorial Hall, but that was for World War I. We did not have a university-wide memorial honoring all service. After Sept. 11, 2001, I think the need for such a memorial became even more self-evident.”
The approximately 300 names of honorees, who have served from the Indian wars (1830s-1850s) until the present day, have been gathered by volunteers. The names in the Book of Remembrance can be sorted by last name, by war or other service, or by class year. To get to the book, visitors will pass through the Memorial Garden on a pathway that leads to the Student Learning Center.
“I thought this was an important thing for UGA to do,” says Johnson. “It’s hard to die for your country, but even worse is to die and be forgotten. We hope UGA’s Memorial Garden will help ensure that does not happen.”