The city of West Point dedicated its new memorial on Friday to the public safety workers who help locally and veterans who have helped here and abroad.
The memorial was built in J. Smith Lanier Park and means the city will be able to have Veterans’ Day services there instead of in adjacent Lanett, Ala.
“We want to recognize our veterans for their unwavering service to the community,” said Police Chief Jeffrey Cato. Cato made construction of the memorial a priority and built it with funds raised in the police department’s annual golf tournament.
The memorial also meant a revitalization for the fountain in the park, which also was rededicated Friday, said Joe Hill, chairman of the West Point Downtown Development Authority. The park actually was created when a group of residents, including J. Smith Lanier, decided to clear out the blighted area at the corner of U.S. 29 and Third Avenue, a gateway to the city.
The park first was dedicated in 1995 and named for Lanier.
“I was shocked when it was named for me,” Lanier told those gathered at the memorial site. “I was only a small part of the revitalization. I’m still humbled to this day that my name is on it. There are thousands of veterans that deserve their names on that plaque.”
Cato was presented with a flag from U.S. Sens. Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss that had flown over the Capitol in his honor. It will be flown in the park from now on.