Frank Cochran Drive is now officially Veterans Parkway.
A dedication ceremony for the renaming of the parkway was conducted Thursday morning by city and county officials, as well as representatives of several veterans’ organizations.
Following a welcome by Liberty County Chamber of Commerce Director Leah Poole, Hinesville City Councilman and Hinesville Military Affairs Committee Chairman David Anderson talked about the nearly 17-year effort to get a street named in honor of veterans in a community with a history that dates back to the American Revolution.
“I remember the idea of a street named for veterans first being mentioned back in 1995,” Anderson said.
He introduced representatives from local veterans’ organizations, who each added recollections of how long it had taken to get a Veterans Parkway and why it was important to do so.
Groups represented included the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Vietnam Veterans Association, Disabled American Veterans and the American Legion.
Many members of these organizations also are members of the HMAC, which is mostly responsible for making the name change happen.
“(Hinesville) was one of those few (Georgia) cities that didn’t have a street named for veterans,” Mayor Pro Tem Charles Frasier said. “And I thank God now that we have one.”
Louis Carreras, Army Reserve ambassador for Georgia, said Thursday’s ceremony was proof that things can get done and that in a democracy, some things just take time.
Mayor Jim Thomas said it was fitting to have a street named to honor veterans in a community so closely connected to the military.
“I don’t know the exact figure, but probably 70 to 80 percent of the people in this community are in some way connected to the military, either as active-duty soldiers, retirees or veterans, or as family members or as military civilians,” he said. “It makes me proud to be part of city that recognizes its veterans.”
Thomas referenced an HMAC meeting scheduled for Thursday at Bryant Commons in which they’d discuss plans for a veterans memorial.
He and several other veteran representatives reminded those at the ceremony to remember and honor the sacrifices of veterans this weekend as they observe Memorial Day.