‘My son right now is smiling down’: Tom Lee Park honors Tyre Nichols

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A dedication on Friday afternoon at Tom Lee Park focused on something Tyre Nichols loved.

At the Memphis city park, the Hyde Family Foundation decided to name its sunset canopy in memory of Nichols, who died three days after confrontations with Memphis Police officers on Jan. 7.

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The canopy is located on the river where visitors will be able to do what Nichols loved to do, and that was taking in the sunset.

“He would love this,” said Rodney Wells, Nichols’ stepfather. “There was nothing he liked more than watching the sunset on the Mississippi,”

During the dedication ceremony, Nichols’ family signed the first roof beam, expressing their love for him. The construction team then lifted that beam into place.

The canopy will be home to community gatherings, celebrations, sporting events and more.

In honor of Nichols, the civic canopy will be named Sunset Canopy.

“It’s an honor to have this dedicated to our son in his memory,” said Rowvaughn Wells, Nichols’ mother. “We appreciate all the love and support we have received from the community and around the world. I know my son right now is smiling down.”

Barbara Hyde, chair and CEO of the foundation, said that when she learned what happened to Nichols, she wanted to help remember him.

“Rather than name this for us or anybody else to give it a name the community could embrace,” she said, “because we all love the sunset, but also a name that would honor Tyre’s memory.”

The park is slated to reopen Labor Day weekend.