Veterans and their supporters brave rain at dedication ceremony
PLANT CITY A pounding rain storm didn't stop Plant City from honoring its veterans. Those who could huddled under the gazebo at Veterans Memorial Monument Park for a brief ceremony that ended with the unveiling of 35 engraved bricks to honor veterans. One of the bricks bore the name of Alexander M. MacInnes, a 92-year-old World War II veteran who, along with others not under shelter, got soaked in the downpour. "He was very proud to be there," said his second cousin, Bonnie Tefoe.MacInnes was planning to return to the park on a dry day to get a look at his engraved brick. Bricks engraved with MacInnes' name, and that of his late brother and fellow WW II veteran, John, joined about 500 others at the park at Wheeler and Damon streets. Alexander MacInnes moved to Plant City in 1930 and worked for the railroad for 49 years, both before and after the war. He was an Army machine gunner and military policeman, and served in Germany both before and after hostilities ended in May 1945. Besides working for the railroad, MacInnes and his brother owned Royal Oak Cottages on Baker Street, his cousin said. The Wednesday ceremony at which the engraved bricks were unveiled had a Memorial Day theme. The youth group, NRG, sang patriotic songs including the national anthem and Mayor Mike Sparkman and Jennifer Closshey, one of the veterans monument founders, took turns at the microphone. Closshey said veterans deserved to be honored and she was glad to play a lead role in establishing the park nearly three years ago. "We owe gratitude and a tremendous debt to the veterans for our freedom," she said.