The intersection of McEver and Mundy Mill roads was dedicated as the “Corporal Matthew Britten Phillips Memorial Intersection” on Saturday in memory of a soldier from Hall County who was killed serving in Afghanistan in 2008.
After a short ceremony at West Hall High School led by state Rep. Emory Dunahoo, a procession of friends and family was led down McEver Road by an escort of local police officers and Patriot Guard Riders.
The procession was met by members of the Hall and Gainesville fire departments, who saluted the fallen soldier by raising a giant American flag over the intersection.
The intersection is now marked by three prominent signs that display the words “Corporal Matthew Britten Phillips Memorial Intersection” honor.
Dunahoo said the newly named intersection is a monument to the price of freedom.
“We are celebrating his life, celebrating a man who stood up for this country and shed his blood for freedom, because freedom isn’t free,” Dunahoo said. “We hope that people will see this and ask questions about him.”
Phillips’ father, Michael Phillips, explained that his son died less than two weeks before completing his tour with the U.S. Army while on a mission into the northern Afghan town of Wanat.
Cpl. Phillips was a graduate of West Hall High, and was one of eight soldiers in the 173rd Airborne Brigade to be killed July 13, 2008, during the Battle of Wanat.
“Matt led life on his own terms,” Phillips said. “He did a lot in 27 years that most people don’t do in 47.”
Philips explained that the community in North Georgia has been overwhelming in its support of his family in the years since.
“This community, its outpouring of support was just phenomenal,” Phillips said.