Highway 19 North could become Veterans Highway'
By By Steve Gillespie/The Meridian Star
Nov. 29, 2001
As a member of the Mississippi Army National Guard, Staff Sgt. Dan Talley serves as an extra pair of eyes and ears for security at Meridian Regional Airport.
As a veteran of the Gulf War, he is honored and humbled that local leaders want Highway 19 named "Veterans Highway" from Alabama to Neshoba County.
Efforts to re-name Highway 19 began at the suggestion of Lauderdale County Supervisor Hank Florey. But because the highway is a state road, the Legislature must approve the name.
So state Sen. Videt Carmichael, D-Meridian, filed a proposal for the 2002 Legislature to re-name the road. Lawmakers are expected to consider the measure in January.
Proposals to re-name state highways seldom meet opposition in the Legislature. If the name change is approved, "Veterans Highway" signs will be placed along the road in the county.
The official name, "Highway 19," will remain for businesses, homes and emergency vehicles.
Florey said he started thinking about a way to honor veterans during the Veterans Day ceremony earlier this month in Meridian when he heard a statistic that 1,000 World War II veterans die each day in the United States.
Louis Castano, 78, of Meridian, an Army Air Corps veteran of World War II, said he would like to see the name change.
A bomber pilot in the Pacific, Castano was one of several veterans who tried to re-enlist after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States.
Joseph Lemoine, Veteran Services Officer for the Veterans Administration in Lauderdale County, said re-naming Highway 19 "Veterans Highway" would make all veterans feel good.
Steve Gillespie is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3233, or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.