A monument to the former landowners and residents of Camp Lejeune has now been erected at Lejeune Memorial Gardens. More than 700 families were living on what is now Camp Lejeune when in 1940 they were called upon to sell their homes and land. The monument preserves the names of the landowners in stone. The Former Landowners of Camp Lejeune holds a yearly reunion at various sites aboard the base the first weekend of October.
The group raised funds for the monument installed Wednesday, August 29, 2018 along the walkway to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Many members of the landowners association or descendants of the former residents of the base, watched the installation and shared stories about those who had lived on the land where the base now operates. Click here to view more photos of the event.
The memorial features a composite map made prior to 1941 from other maps and surveys the Department of the Navy used to identify the lands of those on the site where the base is. Some residents sold their land, some had their land condemned by the US Government but all were required to leave homes that in some cases, had been there since Colonial times. More than 111,000 acres became training grounds for thousands of Marines.
During the 75th anniversary of Camp Lejeune in 2016, the Former Landowners of Camp Lejeune were given special recognition and appreciation for their sacrifice that allowed the creation of the bases. Two sisters, Charlotte Dexter and Mary Dexter Mobley have been representing the Former Landowners of Camp Lejeune in the work with the base in approving, designing, and installing the monument. Dedication of the memorial will take place during the annual reunion of the group.
Lejeune Memorial Gardens is located at Montford Landing Road and Lejeune Boulevard, the gateway of downtown Jacksonville.