Flags, signs to honor soldiers

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, September 22, 2004

MONTICELLO – Soldiers will be honored with flags and a roadsigns in their honor under a cost-free plan the mayor proposed tothe town board Tuesday night.

“I think it’s a good thing to do, and it won’t cost the city athing,” Mayor David Nichols said when proposing the project.

Under the plan, spearheaded by the Lawrence County ExchangeClub, small flags measuring 3 feet by 5 feet will line Highway 84from the intersection with Highway 27 Bypass east to LawrenceCounty Hospital and on F.E. Sellers Highway from the Highway 84intersection south to the Family Life Center. Under each flag, thecity will display a sign with a service member’s name and rank,Nichols said.

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The county has agreed to use its sign-making equipment tosupport the project and will sell the finished product at cost, hesaid.

Exchange Club members still are determining the cost of eachpackage, which includes the flag and sign, but Nichols estimatedthe cost at $55.

Signs could also be purchased in honor of or as a memorial topast members of the armed forces, he said.

All of the packages would remain on display until the soldiersof the 106th Support Group, headquartered in Monticello, returnhome.

Signs for service members currently serving overseas withMonticello or other area Army National Guard units will bepresented to them upon their return, Nichols said.

Signs purchased as a memorial will be kept by the city andreposted on the town streets for the Fourth of July, Veterans Day,Memorial Day and Flag Day holidays.

Nichols, who is also serving as chairman of the Exchange Clubcommittee overseeing the project, said the nonprofit organizationdeveloped the project after the city received complaints.

The town placed flags down a small section of Broad Street whenthe unit departed for Camp Shelby for training prior to deploymentto Iraq. After the parade, the town received numerous complaintsfrom city residents who wanted the flags to remain up until thesoldiers returned home, Nichols said.

“Those flags are outdoor flags, but they would not hold up tobeing in the weather day in and day out,” he said.

Nichols said he pitched his idea to the Exchange Club last monthand the club pledged the first money to the project. The LadiesAuxiliary of the Veterans of Foreign Wars made the firstcontribution earlier this month.

Individuals, businesses and nonprofit organizations may eitherbuy packages for specific soldiers or donate to the program ingeneral. Unspecified donations will be applied first to soldierscurrently serving in Monticello’s National Guard unit, Nicholssaid.

Donations may be made by contacting the town clerk.