Weakley County's WWII B-17 Memorial Project




The WWII B-17 Memorial, which was originally dedicated on Saturday, Sep. 8, 2018, was made possible by the generous donation of time, effort, land, materials and finances by the people of Weakley County.

Jackie Laird, who serves as director of the North West Tennessee Eagle Riders, and other members of his group, which, at that time, was known as the American Legion Riders, held an unveiling ceremony at the monument site on that date. Members of the Patriot Guard, and those from other American veterans’ organizations were also in attendance. Local, state and federal leaders were on hand that day, as well.

“The North West Tennessee Eagle Riders is not a motorcycle club under any circumstances or understood definition,” Laird said. “This organization is a veterans and military support organization.” Laird explained that one of the group’s projects involves maintenance and preservation of the WWII B-17 Memorial and paver stones, located at 3675 East New Hope Church Rd., Palmersville, TN.

According to Laird, 99.0 percent of the donations came from Weakley Countians.

Laird worked for 20 months to raise the money needed to purchase the monument and to secure the site to serve as a historical place marker in remembrance of those who died that day.

Greenfield Monument Works provided the granite stone at their cost, which was etched with the story of the crash. The text and image was freehanded by one of their staff using a dremel tool.

Mr. Alex Waddell donated the plot of land for the memorial site, and even reimbursed the group for the culvert they installed to replace a crushed drainage pipe at that location.

Charles Ross, who was the Weakley County highway supervisor at the time, helped to install the culvert.

Woodmen representatives from around the county helped by donating $500 each.

Paul Needham used his crane to set the monument in place.

Other donations were made through the purchase of brick pavers leading up to the monument, which were etched with names of people paying tribute to others.

Bible Union Baptist Church donated funds for pavers recognizing the church’s veterans and then the membership turned around and donated money to the project - approximately $2,300 in total - from Bible Union Church.

Additionally, Laird states June Kemp of the Palmersville Historical Society was instrumental in gathering information about the site and connecting him with family members of the Army airmen.