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Ode to the Fallen: Portion of Monticello Street dedicated as Veterans Memorial Drive in 2015
Veterans Memorial
In this April 2015 file photo, Covington City Council members and area residents stand under the sign for Veterans Memorial Drive, dedicated to honor fallen soldiers. - photo by File Photo

COVINGTON, Ga. — More than seven years ago, a portion of Monticello Street was officially named Veterans Memorial Drive as an ode to the community’s fallen heroes.

With other memorials and monuments erected in Covington, city leaders were inspired to add yet another way to honor the men and women who have died while serving in the armed forces.

In April 2015, the stretch of highway located near the Eternal Flame was dedicated as Veterans Memorial Drive.

Before unveiling a sign with the emblems of the Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard and Air Force, then-Mayor Ronnie Johnston shared remarks about what veterans and their sacrifice personally meant to him.

Johnston, who served as mayor of Covington from 2011-2019, said he was born at a time when there wasn’t a call to service for Americans as there was for the “Greatest Generation,” and American men and women who served in Korea and Vietnam.

“It’s extremely important to me that we pay our due respect,” Johnston said at the time. “I appreciate the sacrifice you made. I don’t ever take that lightly. The sign serves as a timeless reminder and marker of the true heroes we have in Covington.”

Covington and Newton County are home to many of America’s courageous men and women who served in the armed forces and sacrificed their lives and livelihoods over the years.

At the time of its formation in 1821, Newton County was already home to numerous veterans of the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, among other conflicts. However, the county’s first significant wartime experience came during the Civil War after Georgia and several other states seceded from the U.S. to form the Confederate States of America.

Newton County, like other surrounding counties, had hundreds of residents who served, were captured or killed. The names of those residents may be found listed over several pages in “History of Newton County Georgia.” 

The closest the war came to Newton County was when the path of Union Gen. William T. Sherman’s March to the Sea came through Covington. 

Following the Civil War, the next major brushes of war came in World War I and later World War II.

As conflicts have continued, area residents have continued to serve in the military.

In addition to Veterans Memorial Drive, the Eternal Flame was placed at the intersection of Veterans Memorial Drive (Monticello Street) and Church Street more than 40 years ago, and an obelisk was placed on the Square during the 1970s. Both memorialize the residents who have sacrificed their lives to defend the country.