Mayor Sherman Saunders and Councilman James Buckner joined other city officials and citizens on Friday to further honor veterans by dedicating a portion of Memorial Drive as “Patriot Way.”
The dual designation extends from Central Boulevard to Main Street.
“A patriot is someone who feels strong support for their country,” Saunders told those gathered for the dedication ceremony at the corner of Memorial Drive and Cleveland Street. “Memorial Drive was named as a tribute to the armed forces that have defended the United States of America. It was dedicated in memory of American veterans who served with honor and distinction. Today, the city wishes to further honor current and past members of the armed forces.”
City Council voted Thursday night to designate a portion of Memorial Drive as “Patriot Way” at the request of Buckner.
“I was contacted several months ago about the possibility of lining the streets with American flags during patriotic holidays,” Buckner said at the ceremony. “Here we are today with 34 flags (flying along the Patriot Way corridor).”
The flags are located on city street light poles in the median of the “Patriot Way” corridor from Cleveland Street to Poplar Street. The Fraternal Order of Eagles installed the flags as part of an agreement with the city.
The agreement is part of a program established by the city to allow businesses, veteran organizations and fraternal organizations to sponsor a display of American flags on city-owned street light poles along the corridor to honor veterans and commemorate patriotic holidays. The holidays are Memorial Day, Fourth of July, September 11th and Veterans Day. Flags are to be installed seven days prior to the holiday and be removed no later than seven days after the holiday.
Jerry Shelton, a trustee with the Fraternal Order of Eagles, thanked city officials for the “Patriot Way” designation and the flag display sponsorship program. “The Fraternal Order of Eagles has long supported our veterans,” Shelton said. “We are proud to be a part of 'Patriot Way' and honoring our veterans in the past, present and future.”
“Patriot Way” is an honorary designation that will not change street addresses.