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November 6, 2013

City bridge to be named in memory of Iraq veteran

LAWRENCE — The bridge on Canal Street spanning as a gateway into the city will be named in memory of Army Staff Sgt. Alex Jimenez.

The ceremony will be held on Nov. 15 at noon.

"I'm happy that his name will be etched forever in the city's history," Jimenez' father, Andy Jimenez said.

Jimenez, 25, went missing in action on May 12, 2007, when he was captured in an ambush west of Mahmudiyah, Iraq. Spc. Byron Fouty of Waterford, Mich., and Pfc. Joseph Anzack Jr. of Torrance, Calif., also were captured. Anzack’s body was recovered from the Euphrates River.

They were among three members of the 2nd Brigade of the 10th Mountain Division captured by terrorists during an ambush south of Baghdad. The remains of Jimenez and Fouty were recovered July 8, 2008, west of Jurf As Sukhr in Iraq.

Council President Frank Moran brought the idea to the council after he was approached by several veterans including Bill Collins.

"This is a very significant to the city of Lawrence and to me it was worth every effort we did," Moran said.

"When people stop at the light to take the left, I want them to see the big plaque there. I want them to know who he was."

The City Council voted unanimously on Sept. 19 to name the bridge for Jimenez, who lived at 311 Water St. Moran said he also had full support from Mayor William Lantigua, Veterans Service director Jaime Melendez and the city's Economic Development director Patrick Blanchette.

The plaque built by Valley Monument of Methuen bears a photograph of Jimenez in uniform along with the Army insignia and the words, "Dedicated to The Memory of Our Fallen Hero." It also has an excerpt of a letter Jimenez wrote in 2000 to an Army recruiter explaining the reason why he wanted to be a soldier.

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