Lejeune Greenway and Trail
Greater access to History
The Jacksonville Greenway Trail was installed with reverence to all of the memorials within Lejeune Memorial Gardens. The path is connection. It connects the Civilian community of Jacksonville with the Military community of Camp Lejeune. It connects the revitalized Downtown area with pedestrians both on foot and on bikes. Most importantly the Jacksonville Greenway Trail is a connection to our past. It connects visitors to Lejeune Memorial Gardens and to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our Country. It connects future generations to the adversities overcome by the first black Marines at the Montford Point Marines Memorial and to the history of all who have served at the Museum of the Marine. The Jacksonville Greenway Trail allows greater access for everyone to a site that preserves and honors the legacies of America’s finest.
A Path Sharing Our Commitment to Never Forget
Lejeune Memorial Gardens contains the Beirut Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, 9/11 Memorial and spaces reserved for additional memorials as well as locations for an amphitheater and the Museum of the Marine. Following the transition of former railroad tracks into trails to the base, in 2007 the City won funds to begin work on a missing connector from downtown Jacksonville to the current pathway into Camp Lejeune at the point of the iconic pedestrian bridge over Lejeune Boulevard. The missing pathway had been part of a master plan and a tunnel for the path under the NC24 Bypass was included in that project.
To ensure the path considered the current and future design of the Lejeune Memorial Gardens, the City convened a stakeholders group. It included representatives of every memorial that was in the Lejeune Memorial Gardens at that time, and representatives of several which were in the planning stages. Representatives included some of the original organizers that created the Beirut Memorial and who had worked with the families and the community to construct the memorial and who today serve on the Beirut Memorial Advisory Board. The Beirut Veterans of America representative participates with this Board appointed by the Base and the City. After the Beirut Bombing the City maintained lists of family members for notifications of ceremonies and news about the construction of the Memorial. Those listed were later turned over to the Beirut Veterans of America as the official representative of the families.
Part of a Commitment to Never Forget
After the Beirut Bomb Blast of 1983, the City of Jacksonville recognized just how interwoven the community of military and civilians had become. When a class at Northwoods Park Middle School made a pledge to plant a tree for every man who died in the bomb blast, the community, and many, many more, rallied around that call and produced the funds that planted the trees and built the Memorial. Each year, the City solemnly repeats the pledge to never forget. Those who gave to this project and the City which gave more than $2.1 million to memorials and projects in the Lejeune Memorial Gardens, wanted these memorials to be seen, to stand testament to the commitment of the City and its people to never forget. The pathway will provide access for more to see and experience these memorials.