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Walk of Heroes project moves forward
For Bud Sosebee, the Walk of Heroes at the Georgia Veterans' Memorial Park is more than just a sweeping memorial to the men and women who sacrificed in the five major wars of the 20th century.

It's the work of a lifetime.

The former county commissioner is a proud veteran of World War II and participated in some of the pivotal battles and moments of war - the Battle of the Bulge and the crossing of the Rhine River at Remagen. But for a long time, he rarely spoke about his experiences.

"Until I got started with this thing," he said. "Now that's all I talk about."
Sosebee, along with Norman Wheeler, the chairman of the Georgia Veteran's Memorial Park Foundation, and the late Randy Poynter, was one of the driving forces that began making the park a reality more than a decade ago. The elegant, thoughtfully designed three-acre park, set on the shores of Randy Poynter Lake in Black Shoals Park, is on track to finish the $1.3 million Phase II of the memorial - the courtyard and amphitheater - in time for Veteran's Day.

Visitors to the walkway will be greeted with a fountain set in the shape of a World War I ring and bead gun sight. A stone archway frames a round courtyard with a bronze statue of five military personnel representing each of the five branches of the armed forces - Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard - and each of the five major wars - World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Persian Gulf Wars - bearing a globe on their shoulders.

Pavers, or bricks etched with a person's name and information, will be placed around the statue and down the walk as they are purchased. Currently, the foundation has sold about 300 pavers, but about 186,000 pavers are available at $100 for a 4-inch by 8-inch paver or $200 for a 8-inch by 8-inch paver.

Eventually, in the third phase, a "unity bridge" will be built along the walkway representing the departure from the home front to conflicts overseas. Five enclaves with information about the five major wars will also be built to provide natural stopping points along the walkway for classes and visitors.
"The theme of this park is education," said Sosebee. "I got tired of seeing people not knowing what war was, and what they fought them for and what did you win when you came and what did you lose when you lost it."

The completed project will also boast a theater and reception building, parking for more than 200 cars, a pathway to the International Horse Park, and places to relax and reflect, such as the already completed Vaughn botanical garden.
"It's going to be the best park this country has ever seen," said Sosebee, as he envisioned the finished park. "Gosh, it's really going to be something. I'm so proud of it."

"This is the best-kept secret in Rockdale County," agreed Mike Wofford, job superintendent with Sparks-Grizzard Construction Inc. which is working on the project.

The whole project will cost an estimated $17 to $18 million when completed.

For more information on donating or purchasing pavers, visit or call 1-800-CONYERS.