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.”