Honoring the past, saluting the present, inspiring the future—this is the founding objective of the nonprofit Georgia National Cemetery Advisory Council, comprised of volunteers dedicated to fundraising and enrichment of the 775-acre burial ground in Canton. Long-time council volunteer James Walters of Snellville was recently recognized for his contributions to the cause.

On May 12, the Georgia Society of the Sons of the American Revolution [SAR] awarded James the Service to Veterans Medal for his committed volunteerism supporting Georgia National Cemetery. Since 2007 he has been an active member of the cemetery’s advisory council and has contributed over 4,000 volunteer hours in service to veterans and their families.

“Let Freedom Ring” by Susan R. Dolan, GNCAC

Among his contributions, James was instrumental in commissioning the Veterans Tribute Carillon Tower—a four-story, state-of-the-art carillon bell tower with three functional cast bronze bells. The bells hold special significance as they were cast in part from military medals and other mementos from American wars, received from contributors nationwide. Installed in May 2020 upon one of highest points in the cemetery, the tower serves as a beacon of appreciation for the heroic actions of America’s military servicemembers past and present.

James has participated in numerous organizations supporting veterans and has been a member of the local SAR chapter for over twenty years. In 1991 he was awarded the George Washington Honor Medal from the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania for his citizenship and service to the community.

Thanks to James and volunteers like him, Georgia’s veterans are given the dignity of a proper burial and resting place right here in Cherokee County.