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City dedicates new gateway

"First impressions are always important." House Speaker Seth Hammett spoke those words at the Dedication Ceremony of the Western Gateway Thursday afternoon. Now Andalusia will give motorists, especially beach-goers, a good first impression. Andalusia's motto is "ready for industry," and while the speakers at the ceremony didn't mention industry, they did mention change.

"The best thing we can do is look to the future," Hammett said. "We can either look forward or we can look backwards, but Andalusia has clearly chosen progress with the induction of the monument."

Mayor Earl Johnson agreed with Hammett, and the mayor added some metaphors of his own.

"We're dedicating this for our future," Johnson said. "And we want this place to be bright for many years to come. We've gone 100 years without (the gateway), and we could go another 100 years without it, but the 100 years ahead of us with it means more to us.

"It's a statement on self-thought and pride," he continued. "We're solid, and like the monument, we're made of stone. We take pride in the environment and good landscaping.

"We're patriotic people," he added. "We have the City, State, and U.S. flags on display over the monument, and that says a lot about our community and who we are."

Patriotic indeed. Members of the LBW Ensemble sang the National Anthem with all three flags standing in full salute in the wind, signaling a change has taken place.

Hammett said the change is for the better, a change for progress.

Father Bob Randall of St. Mary's Episcopal Church also made a metaphor of the "gateway." In the invocation of the event, Randall said another "gateway" has a biblical reference. Similar to heaven's gates, Andalusia's gateway is indicative of what lies ahead, said Randall.

Dr. Jim Krudop thanked SouthTrust and the State for providing the land which holds the gateway, and in Johnson's closing comments, he thanked the community for their help and involvement in the occasion.