By Kaitlin Candelaria
Aldridge Gardens in Hoover recently broke ground on its Veterans Memorial Arbor project.
According to the gardens’ website, the arbor will span the 125-foot dam on the lake.
“It will include a ceremonial area overlooking the water and will feature all of the service branch flags, as well as the U.S. flag,” the website said. “The arbor will have comfortable seating areas and will be covered by flowering vines. The supporting cast iron columns will have a unique modern design.”
Families and friends can donate money to dedicate columns, pavers, light poles and benches to veterans.
To celebrate the groundbreaking, many Hoover dignitaries – including City Council members, Hoover Chamber of Commerce members, gardens board members, Kay and Eddie Aldridge, Mayor Gary Ivey and local veterans – visited the gardens on Nov. 9 for a special ceremony.
The Hoover High School Ten Bucs Worth auditioned men’s group performed the national anthem to begin the ceremony, in which Aldridge Gardens board member Mark Davis and Ivey spoke. Davis, a veteran, and board member Debbie Elliot worked together on the concept of using the arbor to honor veterans.
The arbor is part of the master plan for the gardens and originally was dreamed up in 2012. In early 2015, the board, on the recommendation of Davis, decided to name the project the Veterans Memorial Arbor. Since then, Davis has been leading a fundraising campaign to raise the $100,000 necessary for the project. According to gardens officials, he has raised about half the needed funds.
Ivey said projects like the arbor are what remind him that, despite all the bad in the news each day, the U.S. is the greatest country on Earth. The new arbor will be dedicated next year on Veterans Day.
For more information or to contribute to the Veterans Memorial Arbor, visit www.aldridgegardens.com.