On September 11, 2015 Al Garnto was chosen to design and erect a new Veterans Monument for Towns County’s new Foster Park in Hiawassee, Georgia. The unveiling of the new monument was just two months later on November 11, 2015 (Veteran’s Day).
Garnto's veteran's memorial pays homage to the flag-raising during the WWII Battle of Iwo Jima by five US Marines and a Navy Corpsman depicted in the photo by Joe Rosenthal. The new memorial is dedicated to all veterans.
The monument weighs in at 80,000 plus pounds! It spans 30 feet wide by 20 feet tall and is a combination of steel and granite.
Mr. Garnto says, “Even though I have received recognition and various awards during my 20 plus years as a professional artist and kinetic sculptor, this is by far the biggest honor of my art career! To have been chosen to design this for our veterans is a true honor, and one that an artist dreams about. I would like to thank Towns County and Commissioner Bill Kendall for this opportunity to honor our veterans.”
Al went on to say, “The biggest challenge for me in this commission was
the time constraint. By the time I was given the go ahead I had less than
2 months to finalize the design and then build it -- which is an extremely
tight deadline for a monument of this size and importance. It was finished
only a few hours before its dedication. A lot of times the artist, engineer,
or architect gets all the credit for the work but I tell you this monument
would have not have been completed if not for a whole team of dedicated
individuals. I would like to thank Corrugated Replacements Parts & North
Georgia Heat Treat of Blairsville Georgia, Baston Monuments in Elberton
Georgia, Tyler McCollum, Mike & Mia Crowe, Rick’s Tool Rental, Superior
Paints of Hiwassee, Frank Alexander, Art in the Mountains with David Sellers
TV program, John Denton, Stacey White, Colwell Probation Detention Center,
and last but not least, Towns County Sole Commissioner Bill Kendall and
the Towns County Fire Department. Without these people in my corner my
deadline would not have been met. I cannot thank everyone enough!”