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WWII veteran to be honored

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WWII veteran to be honored | James Walls, Military, Mike Sparks, Jim Tracy, Smyrna, Omni Hut Restaurant, South Lowry Street, TDOT

Maj. James Walls

SMYRNA, Tenn. -- A portion of South Lowry Street in Smyrna will be named in honor of a local World War II veteran Friday, Dec. 6, during an official ceremony with the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

The event, which is free and open to the public, is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. near North American Nursery in the 600 block of South Lowery Street.

State Rep. Mike Sparks and state Sen. Jim Tracy announced Tuesday officials have decided to name a portion of the road after retired U.S. Air Force Maj. James “Jim” Walls, who died in March 2012.

Walls was a well-known member of the Smyrna community and founder of the Omni Hut restaurant that is located at 618 S. Lowry St.

During the war, Walls was stationed at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii when the Japanese military bombed the base on Dec. 7, 1941. The unprovoked attack resulted in the deaths of more than 2,300 Americans, and it subsequently led to the U.S. entering WWII.

“Maj. James Walls truly exemplified what Tom Brokaw termed the ‘greatest generation.’” Sparks said. “He gave me my first job at age 13 and went on to employ hundreds of others over his lifetime. His entrepreneurial vision, his love for country, and his passion for helping others will forever be missed in our community.”

For those unable to attend the official highway ceremony, a smaller replica version of the new Major James Walls Memorial Highway sign will be available at the Omni Hut restaurant, which opens at 5 p.m. on Tuesdays through Saturdays.

Residents will also have the opportunity to write messages in support of the memory of Walls while there, said Sparks, who serves as vice chair of the House Transportation Committee in the Tennessee General Assembly.

The replica sign will be hung in the restaurant at a future date.

Tracy said he is “honored to be a part of the ceremony,” noting Walls left a lasting impact on Rutherford County.

“He was a World War II hero,” he said, “and a valued member of our community.”

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James Walls, Jim Tracy, Mike Sparks, Military, Omni Hut Restaurant, Smyrna, South Lowry Street, TDOT
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Members Opinions:
December 06, 2013 at 12:43pm
I think it's great that veterans from World War II continue to be honored. I think sometimes we forget about the sacrifice we made because more and more people are of the generation where they don't remember anything about World War II simply because they weren't alive when it took place. Any soldier that goes and fights for their country demonstrates some form of bravery that a lot of other people wouldn't choose to do. Just by reading this article, it's pretty easy to see that Walls left a positive impact on people he came in contact with throughout his life. I think it's awesome that the local community is choosing to honor a World War II veteran like Walls. It's something I don't think we see enough of nowadays in this country.
December 06, 2013 at 8:31pm
There are so few World War II veterans still with us today, and it is great that the city of Smyrna is taking steps toward preserving their memory and legacy for future generations. Without the service of the men and women who made so many sacrifices during World War II, the world we live in would be a very different place and it is extremely important that the veterans from that time period who are still with us know that they we honor and appreciate everything that they have done for us. This ceremony is a great way for the friends and family of Air Force Major Jim Walls to get the closure and recognition that they need and deserve from the community. I am particularly excited that both Representative Mike Sparks and Senator Jim Tracy will be attending the event to add a special touch and even further commemorate this American Hero.

While this is certainly good progress, we, as a society, need to take better care of our veterans and ensure that we are celebrating and appreciating their sacrifices year round, and not just around Veteran's Day. I think one possible way to better commemorate these individuals, as a group would be to have local memorials that are in honor of all of the fallen soldiers and veterans who served from this region in the various conflicts throughout our nation's history.
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