Lejeune Memorial Gardens is a place to reflect and honor our American military servicemen and women in light of the sacrifces that they have made in defense of our country and our freedoms. Located at the gateway to Downtown Jacksonville, and nestled amidst North Carolina pines and a beautiful landscape, it is a true place of beauty to pause and reflect on the awe of the American patriotic spirit.
Nearby Freedom Fountain, honors all individuals who have served and are serving the United States of America, especially those who have passed through Onslow County in service to their country. It is just a short walk from Lejeune Memorial Gardens.
We encourage all of our visitors to Jacksonville and Onslow County to stop by Lejeune Memorial Gardens and Freedom Fountain to pay tribute to the American heroes that have served our great nation. Doing so promises a unique awe-inspiring experience to remember. Read more about Lejeune Memorial Gardens here.
The largest military memorial paid for from private funds, it reflects the devastating loss suffered by the Marines and our community on October 23, 1983. Now viewed as the opening salvo in the War on Terrorism, the memorial honors those who lost their lives. The words “They Came In Peace” reflects how the Marines were assigned as peacekeepers in this dangerous place.
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is the second-largest Vietnam Veterans Memorial in the nation and one of only a few that lists all the names of the fallen. The Memorial includes an entry wall with symbols for all branches of the military, a walkway and bridge with French design, a dome, a fountain, and a glass wall with etched names of those MIA, POW, or KIA.
Montford Point Marine Memorial
From 1942-1949, the first Black Marines, reluctantly admitted to the Marine Corps in a time of segregation, had to “fight for the right to fight” while serving in the segregated base now named Camp Johnson in honor of Gilbert "Hashmark" Johnson, an original Montford Pointer. While no official record exists of all the Marines who served during this time, the wall of 20,000 stars reflects each member of a group who became distinguished in their warfighting.
9/11 Memorial Beam
This World Trade Center beam was the first one out of New York City and the only one delivered to a Marine Base on the back of a New York City fire engine. From the leather helmets of the fire service to the Leathernecks of the Marine Corps, it reflects the appreciation of the fire service for the Marines being the first into Afghanistan after September 11, 2001.
The Marine Corps Interrogator Translator Teams Memorial honors Marine interrogators and translators who worked to question prisoners of war in their native language and translate the information for intelligence purposes. Etched on the 38,000 pound stone are the names of nine marines who died in combat, some in World War II, Vietnam, Korea and Afghanistan.
Eagle, Globe & Anchor
This majestic multi-dimensional sculpture is located at the entryway to the future Museum of the Marine and is the largest Eagle, Globe, and Anchor statue in the world. Each star on the globe represents places where Marines have routinely deployed.
A Brief History & Fountain Elements
The idea of the Freedom Fountain emerged in response to the first Gulf War, a time when Jacksonville responded to the need to provide help and assistance to military families during this sudden and what was expected to be a long deployment.
The Concept was to recognize the pathway that so many of our Marines and Sailors took to get from the bases here to be deployed. Neighboring communities along this route jointly supported the recognition effort of our military bases and families, and the port. The route, known today as Freedom Way extends from downtown Jacksonville to the port at Morehead City.
Different locations were considered for the Freedom Fountain including a space offered by Onslow County at Courthouse Square. Since the fountain had to make way for the Justice Center, an idea was brought forth from the Onslow Civic Affairs Committee to use the City owned property to the East of City Hall. It was agreed upon that the final location for the Freedom Fountain was to be in downtown Jacksonville at Johnson Boulevard and New Bridge Street.
Jacksonville City Council members endorsed a design concept for the new Freedom Fountain including input from the community. The design features a disappearing edge fountain basin framed by a curved wall with arches that hold large medallions representing the five armed services. Flags and fountain jets representing federal, state, and local governments are featured, as well as water jets that represent each of the 50 states.
In 2016, black marble kiosks surrounding the fountain were etched to tell the story of the Freedom Fountain. In 2015, five flagpoles and flags were added in the median leading to the fountain representing each branch of the military. In June of 2014, installation of the Military medallions was completed. The medallions are suspended in each of the five arches in the wall and represent the five branches of the military. (source: jacksonvillenc.gov)