By Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – It was fitting that on American Armed Forces Day, a World War II monument was unveiled at Veterans Memorial Park on Saturday.
The 8,000-pound marker became the fifth American war monument placed at the park.
More than 150 people attended the dedication, including several war veterans. U.S. Representative Alan Nunnelee, R-Miss., commended the city and all the veterans who made erecting the monument possible.
“This is a great day for our heroes to be recognized,” Nunnelee said to the crowd. “The men and women who fought in World War II and every other war are truly heroes. You saved America and kept the flame of freedom burning worldwide. This monument is a history lesson for all of our children. So when they ask about why it’s here, tell them your stories.”
Tupelo Parks and Recreation Director Don Lewis said the city was pleased to have another monument placed at the park to pay homage to the many veterans that have served and died for America.
The World War II marker was created in a style similar to monuments at the park that honor those who served in Korea and Vietnam. There also is a Veterans of Foreign Wars monument.
Bill Rieves was instrumental in getting the monument placed at the park after realizing there wasn’t one already there.
“I visited this park all the time to look at the flag and monuments and I realized that World War II was not represented,” he said. “So I talked to Don and asked him if I could lead efforts to help to get one placed and he encouraged me to do that. I want to thank everyone who donated money and who helped us to get this monument placed at this great park. We are very proud that World War II is properly represented at Veterans Park now.”
About $8,000 was raised to get the memorial built.
T.C. Gibbs also helped lead the efforts for the monument.
“It is only fitting that on this day we honor those who passed during all the wars,” Gibbs said. “World War II changed our culture and the way we now live and we hope it’s never forgotten by anyone. We had a lot of fine young men and women who sacrificed their lives for this country and monuments like these help us to always remember.”
Lewis said at least one more monument is planned to be placed at the park.