By: Emma Wheeler | WCTV Eyewitness News
November 11, 2019
LOWNDES COUNTY, Ga. (WCTV) -- Freedom Park in Lowndes County is taking on a new meaning as a monument is dedicated to veterans past and present.
The Valdosta Public Art Committee dedicated a new military tribute during a special Veterans Day ceremony. After more than two years, countless hours and several helping hands throughout the community, the monument now stands near the Miracle League Field in Freedom Park.
The art piece is covered in a mosaic of tiles featuring real pictures of local veterans, bringing their memory back to life.
"It's just do energizing to work on something like this, and to create something that'll last and has meaning to other people," said artist Marty Haythorn. "The values and principles that guide the military are an important part of what I believe this monument and what the military is about, honor, duty, integrity, personal sacrifice."
David Guest, his sister and father-in-law are a few of the dozens of veterans featured on the monument.
Guest served in the United States Air Force for more than 20 years, and has a long family history of service men and women.
But this monument has another special meaning for the Guest family, who used to own the land on which Freedom Park now stands.
Guest, having grown up hunting and fishing on the property, had mixed feelings about watching its transformation, but said this monument is a way to keep it in the family.
"Kind of heartbreaking in a way, but come to find out, see what it's actually turned in to and enjoyment that so many people can now get from it, I guess It's a pretty great thing," Guest said. "This monument here represents the many different faces of the freedom of America."
The Valdosta PAC has not chosen an official name for the monument. Through this week organizers are taking submissions from the community at the Turner Center for the Arts.