The Eugene Brown Veterans Memorial, located at Butler Park and named for the first Hall County man killed in World War II from the county’s African American community, has been completed and will be celebrated with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday, Feb. 23, at 4 p.m.
Sponsored by the Newtown Florist Club, the E.E. Butler Steering Committee and the Paul E. Bolden Inc. American Legion Post 7, the Eugene Brown Veterans Memorial honors veterans from Gainesville’s southside community who gave their lives in service to their country and their community.
“The Butler Park project has been a shared vision and a tribute to Gainesville’s southside community since its inception, and the Eugene Brown Veterans Memorial is another testament to the contributions of this community to Hall County that we are honored to celebrate,” said District 4 Commissioner Jeff Stowe.
The memorial includes veterans from World War II, the Korean War and the Global War on Terror, along with the branch of military each member served.
“We must honor these veterans who served during the time of segregation because their freedom was not free. Their sacrifices paved the road for our community’s freedom. We must preserve this history for local veterans who will serve and protect our freedoms for generations to come,” said Johnny W. Varner, Jr., who serves in the American Legion Post 7.
The memorial stands at the entrance to Butler Park next to the Lady Liberty statue and the American flag as proud reminders of the ideals these veterans served for.
“As the Commander of both the American Legion Post 7 and Disabled American Veterans Chapter 17, I’m happy to see the contributions of African American military men and women acknowledged and celebrated. Their sacrifices aren’t only Black History, it’s American History and was instrumental in securing the freedoms we enjoy today as Americans,” said Andre L. Castleberry, US Navy (retired).
Visitors can see the new memorial at the entrance of the park, located on Athens Street in Gainesville.