Rockdale’s Veterans Memorial Park a rally site for veterans

CONYERS — Veterans Memorial Park in north Rockdale County, home to the Walk of Heroes, has been designated as one of two rally sites in Georgia for the Million Vet March on the Memorials Sunday.

According to media reports, the Million Vet March, organized by Special Operations Speaks, a political action committee, will take place on Sunday, Oct. 13, 9 a.m., at the World War II memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. For veterans unable to make it to Washington, alternative sites were established in every state.

Tommy Clack, chairman of the board of the Walk of Heroes, said Thursday he had not been officially notified that the Rockdale memorial had been selected as a rally site, but the information has been widely circulated on the Internet. The National Infantry Museum in Columbus is the only other site designated in Georgia.

As of Thursday afternoon, Clack said he had fielded 300 phone calls from veterans who are planning to attend Sunday.

Clack said he didn’t know how Veterans Memorial Park had been selected as a rally site, but it was beneficial to the park.

“The fact that somebody chose us on a national level says we are known outside of the metro Atlanta area, and that’s good for us.”

Clack said no formal program is planned Sunday.

The veterans rally is focused on two issues, Clack said. First, he said, is the fact that veterans war memorials have been unnecessarily barricaded due to the federal government shutdown, when they normally had been open and unguarded around the clock. Secondly, Clack said despite the government shutdown, funds are available to keep the veterans services operational and veterans benefits paid.

Clack said he will take the opportunity to set up a booth in the park Sunday where memorial pavers will be sold to benefit the Walk of Heroes. Pavers come in two sizes: 4 x 8 inches, with three lines of text for $100; 8 x 8 inches, with two lines of text for $200.

Clack has communicated with county officials about the possibility of a large crowd gathering at Veterans Memorial Park on Sunday, and he’s working to get more information about the rally. Clack said he would meet with the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office “to make sure we have deputies on hand in case we do have a big crowd.”