West Point local to erect WWII memorial
WEST POINT — Many people from the Greater Valley Area served their country in the Second World War. The city of West Point makes up its fair share of World War II veterans, but has no memorial honoring the men who gave their lives during war time. That is until now.
World War II Navy veteran Jim Nix will soon be erecting a monument in memory of five West Point men who died and one who was taken as a prisoner of war during the years of war.
“These men have not been memorialized yet,” Nix said. “Knowing them and knowing their families and having a personal relationship with them, I just felt like it was time that they be remembered in a way that the public can see.”
Nix started work on the memorial two years ago. It involved asking the West Point City Council for permission, finding a place to put the monument and — what Nix said was the hardest part — finding surviving members of the fallen soldier’s family.
Nix made sure to include the due diligence on this project, as it holds personal value to him. One of the men memorialized on the monument is his older brother, Wendell Lloyd Nix, who served in the United States Army Air Corps.
“I’m a veteran myself and I’ve seen an awful lot of this kind of thing and experienced it first hand, this being my brother’s name here too,” Nix said. “He was so young, healthy and a handsome, big strapping boy.”
Wendell was just 18 months older than Nix. He died training to fly bombers.
The men memorialized on the upcoming monument are 1st Lt. Thomas L. Alford USAAC, died February 14, 1944; Ensign Walter Barrow USNAC, died March 29, 1944; Lt. William Dean 328 Inf. 26 Div., died March 13, 1945; Cptn. Robert Ferguson USAAC, died April 5, 1944; Cadet Wendell Lloyd Nix USAAC, died May 3, 1944 and Lt. R. Fred Reed who was taken by German forces on February 20, 1944. Reed was a prisoner of war before being freed by Russian forces and returned to the US.
Nix originally planned to have the monument up by Memorial Day but waited due to inclement weather. He plans to have it up within the next week or two at J. Smith Lanier II Park.