TUPELO – Although the crowd was small at the Gilvo Cemetery Memorial Day program, the sentiment for why friends, family and a few strangers gathered there was anything but.
On Saturday, they placed flags on the graves of 70 veterans buried in the small cemetery in the Skyline community.
For the 11th year, Jean Walters has organized the flag ceremony at the cemetery where some of her relatives who have served in various wars rest. And even though the group does the same thing year after year, Walters said the lesson that is taught never gets old.
“All 70 of these men died serving our country,” Walters said. “They died protecting what we as Americans believe in, and that is worth us coming back here every year to honor them.”
This year’s program did have an added twist with the marking of a mass grave believed to contain several Confederate soldiers. Until Saturday’s ceremony, the grave was marked by a pile of bricks, with no names, or dates.
Thanks to a donation by North Mississippi Stone & Memorial in Baldwyn, people will now know where the soldiers are buried.
Mark and Molly Hamblin, owners of the business, donated and engraved a marker to place over the grave.
“We are glad to finally get the grave of these soldiers marked,” said Dick Hitson, who installed the stone marker. “We don’t know how many are in there and we don’t know who they are, but we do know that they deserve to be recognized. And now they are.”
Joanne Mallard was one of the nearly 30 people who attended the program, and even though she didn’t have any relatives buried in Gilvo, she said she felt obligated to lend a hand in honoring them.
“They did their part in serving our country, so I’m going to do my part in honoring them for that sacrifice,” said Mallard. “I’m not blood kin to any of those men buried here, but we are all family under God and as Americans. So this is their day to be honored and I want to be apart of it.”
Contact Danza Johnson at (662) 678-1583 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal