VFW supports monument

Published 11:22 pm Monday, March 13, 2006

By By Lavan Martin
This is in reference to the Letter to the Editor entitled "Donations needed for monument" published in the Atmore Advance on March 8, 2006, regarding an Atmore Veteran's Monument. Let me state at the onset that the veterans of the Atmore VFW Post 7016, Veterans of Foreign Wars, support the idea and efforts to erect such a monument in Atmore.
In fact, the February's monthly American Legion meeting at which Commander Stanley stated his plans for an Atmore Veterans Monument, I updated him on the efforts taken thus far from the American Legion and the VFW for such a monument, that this group of veterans had already discussed the idea of a veterans' monument with Mayor Shell and other city officials, monument builders, and the Heritage Park Committee. Unfortunately, plans were put in abeyance as a result of hurricanes that hit Atmore and the destruction caused to both the American Legion and VFW buildings.
Although no conclusions were ever presented for approval, this group of veterans had already discussed the possibilities of a veteran's monument to include site, type and cost. This group of veterans included yours truly, Byard Swift, Joel Day, et al, and had already visited Brewton, Bay Minette, Monroeville, and Selma to see what these cities had done to honor veterans. Mayor Shell suggested the possibility of veterans assuming responsibility for the old airplane that had been placed in front of City hall. When this idea did not materialize and the airplane was subsequently given to an Air Force Association and moved to an Air Force Museum, Mayor Shell suggested we pursue site possibilities with the Heritage Park Committee.
The late Taylor Faircloth of the Heritage Park Committee eagerly supported the monument idea and recommended to the Committee that the monument be placed in Heritage Park. Understandingly, the Committee already had plans for a fountain to placed in the center of Heritage Park but agreed to place a veterans' monument at the corner of Craig and Main Streets, adjacent to the Historical Society Building, provided a sketch of the monument was developed and submitted for approval.
During the discussion of the monument idea that Commander Stanley presented at the Legion meeting, it was agreed that Atmore should have a veterans' monument, but that it should be a coordinated effort by both Atmore veteran organizations and interested community leaders. As Commander of the Atmore VFW Post, I was asked to appoint a VFW Committee to work with an American Legion Committee and pursue all possibilities of erecting an Atmore Veterans' Monument. VFW Comrades Byard Swift, Mike Hanks, Jimmy Beck and yours truly have agreed to serve on such a committee and are ready to move forward with plans for such a monument.
This response to the American Legion's Letter to the Editor is not to criticize but to emphasize the need for an Atmore Veteran's Monument that is planned and accomplished by coordinated efforts, i.e., site, type of monument, cost, and payment. Atmore Veterans' Monument should and must be a coordinated effort-not a single person's or a single organization's project.
Atmore, like so many other cities, needs a monument where Veterans can be recognized and where veterans can meet and pay tribute to fallen comrades. Atmore area citizens are encouraged to support the veterans in their efforts. Veterans of the Atmore VFW Post deeply appreciated all that the Atmore area community has done for veterans and urge all Atmore area citizens to assist financially with efforts to have an Atmore Veterans' Monument.

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