CATEGORY: Chickasaw County
FALLEN CHICKASAW VETERANS HONORED
By Eileen Bailey
HOUSTON – Flags popped in the brisk breeze as Ruble Duncan of Mantee stopped Monday afternoon to read the names on a new memorial wall dedicated to those from Chickasaw County who died during wartime.
“I think this is great. It honors those who made the sacrifices for the freedoms we experience today,” Duncan said. As he read down the 71 names, Duncan, 69, said he knew many of those whose names were on the wall. They were neighbors, friends and relatives and they died during World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam.
“It is something for us to be proud of for years to come,” he said. Duncan, who served in the Army during World War II, said the memorial would not have been possible if not for Paul Russell of Houston who spearheaded the effort to raise the money for the wall.
Russell, 71, said he got the idea for the wall from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial that stands in Washington, D.C., which honors those who died in military service in Vietnam. “If they can have a wall we can have a wall for our own,” he said.
Spending a day at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Russell was able to collect the 71 names of those killed in action.
He then began collecting donations to purchase the stone and have the names etched. Russell, who served during the Korean and Vietnam wars, said he raised more than $3,000 for the project. Those funds helped to pay for the stone and the etching of names, which was $2 a letter. “There are 939 letters on the memorial,” he said.
The wall can be found on either side of a monument that was erected as a project of the Leadership Chickasaw Beautification Team in 1991. This monument is located on the west side of the Chickasaw County Courthouse Square.
On the monument is an inscription that reads “Dedicated to the Citizens of Chickasaw County Who Served Our Country in Peacetime and War with Honor.” Also on the monument are the insignias of the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, U.S. Army, U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Marines.
The names of the men on the wall are listed under the war in which they served. Russell said extra space on the wall could be used for other names if needed in the future.