Late Alexander City resident and World War II veteran Cecil “Sausage” Bryant was honored last week with a plaque placed in his name at Alexander City Methodist Church. The Alexander City Veterans Honor Guard organized the ceremony and presented the plaque to Bryant’s family.
“We do not present a plaque like that to everybody,” honor guard member Chuck Martin said. “We don’t show favoritism but in the case of Cecil he was such a mainstay in Alex City. He was involved in a lot of things in Alex City.”
Bryant, who died at the age of 103 on Dec. 22, 2018, served in the U.S. Army Air Force in World War II.
Bryant helped establish the local honor guard in 1982 in addition to starting the Alexander City Rescue Squad and Alexander City Methodist Church. Bryant also taught little league baseball, according to honor guard member Danny Wright.
The Alexander City Veterans Honor Guard is made up of local former military personnel who attend veterans’ funerals.
“(Bryant) was such an instrumental person in things around Alex City that we felt like we needed to show our respect to him and his family by putting this up,” Martin said.
The plaque is placed in the church’s “veterans corner,” which also has American flags, an eagle statue and an urn. Alexander City Methodist Church Rev. Wayne Cowhick said he remembers preaching at military funerals in the rain and Bryant stayed at attention the whole time.
“It would be cold and he would be standing there and he wouldn’t move a muscle,” Cowhick said. “He took it very seriously.”
The honor guard surprised Bryant’s family with the plaque.
“We were very surprised and very honored that they thought so much of my father to do something like this,” said Susan Hardy, Bryant’s daughter. “I appreciate them doing all that they did to honor him.”
Wright said Bryant and the other founders decided to organize the Alexander City Veterans Honor Guard when the military started sending fewer veterans to military funerals.
“They decided that they needed to do something in recognition for the (veterans) when they started it,” Wright said.
Martin said Bryant influenced him greatly.
“I associate with him things that I learned from him, like holding my temper if I could, thinking before you spoke and finding something good in people and not looking for the bad,” Martin said. “I think he was a good influence on the whole honor guard.”
Hardy said her father taught her to always give back to the community, help people when they need it and to always see the best in others.
“(My parents) both instilled in us to always give back and do for others as they have done for you and that’s what my whole family and I are trying to do,” Hardy said.