Published by Carl Hedinger. Last Updated on February 7, 2024.
Eastern North Carolina is home to one of the most reflective and touching memorials in the US. Lejeune Memorial Gardens is a five-acre memorial in Jacksonville that honors many people who have bravely served our country and made the ultimate sacrifice.
Whether you’re stationed at Camp Lejeune, a Jacksonville resident, or a visitor to the area, we’ve created this guide for you.
So you don’t have any questions about this powerful place, we have organized this guide into the following sections:
- What is Lejeune Memorial Gardens?
- Where are Lejeune Memorial Gardens?
- Monuments at Lejeune Memorial Gardens
- More Things to Do in Jacksonville (Attractions and NC Travel Guides)
You can skip ahead to any section within the guide or continue reading some background info about Lejeune Memorial Gardens.
What is Lejeune Memorial Gardens?
Lejeune Memorial Gardens is a site that honors and remembers all those who served our country, past, present, and future.
The garden spans five acres and includes multiple monuments representing different parts of military history, miles of winding pathways and trails throughout the Gardens, and space allotted for future memorials.
The trails that wind through the Gardens connect the military bases and the city itself, allowing Marines a feeling of community and togetherness.
Where is Lejeune Memorial Gardens?
Address: 109 Montford Landing Rd, Jacksonville, NC 28540
Lejeune Memorial Gardens is located in Jacksonville, North Carolina, in Onslow County. The coastal town is home to the Marine military base of the same name, Camp Lejeune, and has a strong military history.
Next to City Hall in downtown Jacksonville is the Freedom Fountain, which marks the start of Lejeune Boulevard. You can walk or drive down the Boulevard to the Gardens.
There is plenty of parking on Montford Landing Road across from Montford Point National Cemetery. From here, visitors can easily walk to the Gardens.
Monuments at Lejeune Memorial Gardens
Inside Lejeune Memorial Gardens, there are five main monuments and statues, excluding the Freedom Fountain which welcomes visitors outside.
These monuments include:
- The Beirut Memorial
- The Onslow Vietnam Veterans Memorial
- The Montford Point Marine Memorial
- Corpsmen Memorial
- The 9/11 Memorial Beam
- An Eagle, Globe, and Anchor statue standing at the entryway
The Gardens contain miles of walking paths that will take you to all of these sites. We will cover each memorial in order and the importance they hold in representing our history.
We mentioned the Freedom Fountain located near City Hall in downtown Jacksonville. It’s a short walk from the Gardens and was built to honor all the service members who have spent time in Jacksonville or Onslow County during their service.
The fountain includes 50 water jets, each representing a state, and three flag and fountain jets representing the local, state, and federal governments. The fountain flows year-round, and most nights, you can see the fountain lit up in red, white, and blue.
Once in the gardens, you can follow the winding paths to the Beirut Memorial, which is the largest privately-funded memorial that commemorates the tragedy of the Beirut Barracks Bombing on October 23, 1983.
That day, 220 Marines, 18 sailors, and 3 soldiers lost their lives when a truck bomb destroyed the Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon.
Their names are carved into the memorial’s granite, as well as an inscription of “They Came in Peace.” Take some time to read and reflect on the poem, “The Other Wall,” which is inscribed on a bronze plaque at the memorial.
9/11 Memorial Beam
The next memorial in the Gardens is the 9/11 Memorial Beam from the World Trade Center. This steel beam was the first to be pulled from the Twin Towers following the September 11 Attack and transported to Jacksonville via an NYC firetruck.
Today, it sits in the Gardens and honors the first troops who fought in the Afghanistan War. Each year on the attack’s anniversary, Jacksonville observes Patriot Day at 8:15 A.M. at this spot.
Also in the same vicinity as the beam is one of the world’s largest versions of the Marine Corps symbol of the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor. The massive statue floats above a nearby reflecting pool.
The globe also contains stars to represent every location around the world where a Marine has been deployed.
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
Continuing along the paths in the Gardens will take you to the second-largest Vietnam Veterans Memorial in the country. The entry wall prints medallions to recognize the branches of our military and opens up to a bridge.
The bridge will take you to a dome structure that contains a fountain and glass wall.
The curved glass wall alphabetically lists all 58,229 military members who were missing, imprisoned, or killed during the Vietnam war. The dome also shows the lyrics to “Taps,” the melancholy melody used at military funerals.
In the center is a fountain with five jet streams that light up after sunset. The Vietnam Memorial in Jacksonville is a reflective place and perfectly built to honor Vietnam Veterans.
Montford Point Marine Memorial
Jacksonville is also home to the only memorial to the country’s first African-American soldiers. These soldiers were admitted to the Marines during World War II beginning in 1942.
They completed segregated training just down the road in Camp Johnson, which is a subset of Camp Lejeune, until President Truman desegregated the Marine Corps in 1949.
The Montford Point Marine Memorial is a tribute to these soldiers and their struggle for “the right to fight.” There is a complete list of the Marines who served at this time, and the memorial features a wall of over 20,000 to reflect each brave soul.
A Congressional Gold Medal was awarded to all Montford Point Marines. Today, it is featured at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History & Culture.
In February 2008, the Corpsmen Memorial Foundation was created in order to build a monument commemorating Navy corpsmen. The Corpsmen Memorial at the Lejeune Gardens is a life-sized replica of a Vietnam-era corpsman lying on top of a wounded Marine to shield him from danger.
Currently, there are plans in place for the construction of two new memorials, as well as space allotted for any future monuments. These two memorials include the Corpsmen Memorial and the Carolina Museum of the Marine.
- Museum of the Marine: The Museum of the Marine will pay tribute to the Carolina Marines, brave men and women who served in defense of our country and freedom. The facility, expected to be 40,000 square feet, would tell the tales of the Carolina Marines. Both memorials are currently in the fundraising and planning stages, but keep an eye out for when they will be completed!
More Things to Do in Jacksonville
Beyond Lejeune Memorial Gardens, Jacksonville offers lots more to do in and around the city.
- Sturgeon City is one of the town’s most popular attractions. It is located in a repurposed wastewater treatment plant and features large outdoor play areas and frequent events.
- Visit Zing Zumm Children Museum. The kids would love an afternoon spent playing with the interactive exhibits and activities.
- Grab a meal at one of the town’s great restaurants. Examples include The Milk Road and the Kettle Diner, which are great options for coffee and breakfast. Jeff’s is a popular lunch spot and there are many more places to eat beyond these delicious choices.
We’ve created additional NC travel guides that cover Lejeune Memorial Gardens, these things to do in Jacksonville, and even more. Here are a few of them: