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Veterans honored

VFW Commander Lee “Lavan” Martin, left, and American Legion members Aubrey Stanley and Byard Swift salute after placing a wreath at the base of the new Atmore Veteran’s Memorial Monument during a dedication ceremony on Memorial Day.|Photo by Chandler Myers

Hundreds gathered on the lawn in front of Atmore City Hall surrounding the Atmore Veteran’s Memorial Monument to dedicate the city’s formal memorial to its veterans.

The Memorial Day dedication coordinated by Atmore VFW member Billy Gates featured several speakers including a thank you from Escambia County Commissioner Brandon Smith, Atmore Mayor Howard Shell as well as a poem read by one of Atmore’s veterans Abby Helton.

With the dedication happening on such an important day in the nation’s history, Gates opened the ceremony speaking about why the event was important.

“This dedication today is for our veterans, families of veterans, the City of Atmore and its surrounding areas,” he said. “A lot of people put forth effort to make this possible. I have a message for young folks. Young folks, get on the patriotic bandwagon because you are the ones we need.”

The monument, which was completed and erected in front of Atmore City Hall last summer, was a coordination of the efforts between the Atmore VFW and the Atmore American Legion.

Several months later, the two groups along with family members, friends and guests came together to dedicate the monument and honor the 117 names that are engraved upon it.

The unspoken theme of the dedication was giving thanks to those who serve the United States proudly. From the military veterans to emergency personnel who risk their lives daily.

During Smith’s turn at the podium he made sure to thank the veterans that he has seen throughout his life, and added that the monument is important for Atmore.

“When I was deciding on what to say today, I wondered what to say to some of the greatest generations this country has ever known,” Smith said. “Growing up here in Atmore has allowed me to have relationships with a lot of veterans. My dad is a veteran, and I work along side him every day. I am proud of what he has done not only for our country, but my life as well. This monument is not only a good addition to our city, but evidence of the hard work that our veterans have done for the country and this city.”