On Thatcher Street near Greenfield and Outer Drive there is a small and lovely wooded park named after a courageous soldier.
James Lee Varier was born on July 8, 1925 in Ohio. At the age of three, James lost his father Owen who died while waiting for surgery in an Ohio hospital. After this loss, the family moved to Michigan.
James grew up in Detroit; living with his mother Marcele, two sisters, and grandparents in Detroit. In April 1944, he began serving in World War II with the 2nd Battalion, 276th Infantry Regiment, 70th Infantry Division of the U.S. Army. He rose to the rank of Private First Class.
On January 12, 1945 James volunteered to serve with the battalion’s wire section. The unit was attacked by an enemy patrol and communication became difficult. Varier was severely wounded by enemy fire; despite his wounds, he covered the withdrawal of other soldiers with rifle fire until he died. His courage and strength enabled a soldier to escape and return with military reinforcements which drove off the enemy.
Private First Class James Varier died at 19 and received the Silver Star posthumously for gallantry in action. His service and valor are not forgotten. The plaque dedicating this park remains.