Smithville memorial marks anniversary

By JB Clark/NEMS Daily Journal

SMITHVILLE – Saturday will be for Smithville residents a day of remembering those lost and looking forward with hope.
Today marks one year since the EF5 tornado ripped through Smithville, killing 16 people, and Saturday the community will hold Smithville Memorial Day.
“It’s going to be a somber event, but we want to remember it’s the rebirth of Smithville as well,” said Kim Johnson, public information officer for the Monroe County town almost wiped off the map last year. “We want to remember those lost and look forward to the future.”
The day will kick off at 8 a.m. with a 5K run. Participants can register at the event, which will start at the Lady ‘Noles softball field next to Smithville Town Hall.
After the 5K, elected officials will speak at a formal opening ceremony at the site of the future Smithville government complex.
The opening ceremony will begin at 2 p.m. and will include speeches from U.S. Rep. Alan Nunnelee, Mayor Gregg Kennedy, Mississippi First Lady Deborah Bryant and Gov. Phil Bryant.
After the opening ceremony, residents and guests are invited to bring their grills and food for a tailgate.
Christian Chapel Church of Christ will cook barbecue for those who choose not to grill.
The Smithville alumni softball game will be after the tailgate. Events climax with a bonfire.
“The closing ceremony will be a bonfire, we just want to end the day on a good note,” Johnson said.
jb.clark@journalinc.com