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When we celebrate our freedom, Dahlonega, Lumpkin County surely stands out; roads lined with Memorial Markers as we honor those who have sacrificed for our country. With the military presence of the University of North Georgia and Frank. D. Merrill US Ranger Camp, Dahlonega honors those who serve and have served. Memorial Sites and Cemeteries, Annual Events and Parades, and daily Traditions preserve and present our local pride and share our Military Heritage with visitors.
Memorial Markers Volunteers, a team of over 100, put out near 700 memorial markers and American flags on each marker in honor of veterans from WWI to Vietnam along the major roadways and corridors leading into Dahlonega, and around the Historic Downtown Square.
The Markers are placed during the weeks prior to Veterans Day and from Memorial Day through the 4th of July. The local pride and visual impact on visitors is unmatched.
The Memorial Marker Committee is comprised of members of the Blue Mountain Lodge #38, the Lumpkin County Veteran's Committee, and the U.S. Mountain Ranger Association.
1 Camp Merrill, Dahlonega, GA 30533
Visitors for the Museum must Call in Advance and Check In at the Main Gate.
Camp Frank D. Merrill is home to the 5th Ranger Training Battalion (est. 1952) and the mountain phase of the U.S. Army Ranger School. Named in honor of Major General Frank D. Merrill, commander of one of the first Ranger units (Merrill’s Marauders in World War II), the camp’s 290 acres are located at the base of the North Georgia Mountains near the Appalachian Trail.
Almost every war that has been fought since the start of recorded history has included some type of mountain operations, therefore the knowledge gained at Camp Frank D. Merrill is crucial for both survival and operational success.
The Ranger community regularly participates in local events such as the Fourth of July Family Day Celebration, Veteran’s Day activities at Lumpkin County High School, Memorial Day ceremonies, and various Parades.
Camp Merrill is also home to many hiking, running, and biking trails (on and off road) through the Chattahoochee National Forest.
The Camp Frank D. Merrill Museum building is an exact replica of the original hutments that were used as student barracks as a historical monument and museum. The Museum was dedicated in 1994 to the officers and non-commissioned Officers of the Mountain Ranger Training Camp from 1952 to Present. Besides the array of trails and the extraordinary scenery surrounding Camp Merrill, the Camp Museum provides a fascinating exhibition of Ranger memorabilia that visitors may tour.
The Memorial Wall is located in front of Memorial Hall and was built in 1983 to honor North Georgia Alumni who gave their lives in service to our nation. Also recognized are students who lost their lives while attending North Georgia. By tradition, do not enter the Memorial area unless they are stopping to show respect to those listed on the wall.
The triangle is located between the Drill Field and Memorial Hall. It holds the daily retreat cannon, a 75-mm pack howitzer, which has been fired daily for more than 50 years. Retreat occurs daily at 5 pm.
Reveille – Each morning at 7:00 a.m. Reveille is played and the U.S. Flag is raised. By tradition, cadets stand at attention and salute the flag. Civilians are asked to stop and face the flag until the bugle call ends.
Retreat - Each afternoon at 5:00 p.m. the campus comes to a halt as the University pays respect to the American Flag and our country’s heritage. By tradition, cadets stand at attention and salute the flag. Civilians are asked to stop, remove their hats, face the flag, and place their right hand over their heart while retreat is played.
Taps - Taps are played each evening at Midnight (2:00 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays of open weekends) to indicate the end of the day. Cadets are required to be in their residence halls at this time.
Located at the Lumpkin County Administration building there is a new authentic Tank on display (M60A3) adjacent to Lumpkin County Veterans Memorial Park. The outdoor Tank is open to the public 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.
The M60 is one of the world's most successful main battle tanks with 15,000 having been produced and serving in the armies of 22 countries. The tank has provided proven battlefield performance over four decades and has been continuously advanced and upgraded with advanced weapon control, ammunition, applique armour and increasingly powerful engines.
M60 tanks entered service with the US Army in 1960. The M60A1 with a new turret, thicker armour and a new ammunition stowage system, was manufactured from 1962 to 1980. The development of the M60A2 with a new turret fitted with a 152mm gun and missile launcher was halted and effort was directed to the development and production of the highly successful M60A3, which incorporated improvements to the gun fire control and entered service in 1978.
The US Army phased M60A3 out of service in 1997 and it was superseded by M1 Abrams, a third generation main battle tank.
The old pre-Civil War Mount Hope Cemetery in downtown Dahlonega is just a couple of blocks from the main square with between 1,000 – 2,000 gravesites. Most famously known for some "Slot and Tab" grave markers, found only in this part of the country.
The pre-Civil War cemetery has an interesting mix of old and new grave markers. Mt. Hope is the resting place of Confederate officer William Pierce Price (State Legislator and United States Congressman) one block from the University of North Georgia Price Memorial Hall. Members of the Phillips Legion Infantry - Co E - The Blue Ridge Rifles are found at Mt. Hope including Jesse Marion “J. M.” McDonald. His letters home from Virginia still survive.
Dahlonega and Lumpkin County hold impressive, annual Veterans Day activities including a community program at the Lumpkin County High School usually mid-morning and into the 11th Hour signifying Armistice Day origins. The patriot program of bands, drill teams, keynote speakers, and more is followed by a Lumpkin County program held at the Lumpkin County Veterans Memorial in downtown Dahlonega at the County Administration Building.
The Veterans Affairs group also organizes an afternoon Parade through the town square including veterans and active Military and Military ROTC programs. As the day progresses, the University of North Georgia holds a Veterans Day Parade Review on the Drill Field.
“We, the members of SCV Camp # 1860, honor our Confederate ancestors for their service to the Confederate States of America, and for their stand against the invading armies to their homeland. We want to preserve the memory of our gallant men in gray and the heritage they left us.” Camp #1860
The SCV Camp #1860 participate in living history activities during the year including period dress and arms displays, parades such as Gold Rush Days Festival Parade and the Veterans Day Parade, and honor Confederate Memorial Day in Mount Hope Cemetery.
Dahlonega-Lumpkin County Chamber & Visitors Bureau | 13 South Park Street | Dahlonega, GA 30533 | (706) 864-3711 or (800) 231-5543.