A veterans memorial Plans call for an inclusive tribute in a Tupelo park

Millions of people across the United States and around the world this weekend remember with special affection all the men and women over the centuries who have served in America’s military services.

The traditional observance of Veterans Day on Saturday will be extended by holidays in some government offices closed Monday and various private observances across the region.

The weekend provides high visibility for an ambitious project to build a major veterans monument at Veterans Memorial Park in Tupelo – the major municipal recreation area in east Tupelo with a viewscape lending itself to a dramatic architectural statement honoring all veterans from all eras in our national history.

The site and plan are sanctioned by the City of Tupelo, Lee County’s Board of Supervisors, the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and many other veterans-affiliated and support groups.

The money – $500,000 – must be raised from private donors, an appropriate method to powerfully remind people that citizens from all walks of life, all races, all economic situations, and all communities have served with honor and heroism.

We hope that in the final design and execution some provision is made to display the names of all Mississippi veterans who served and died under allegiance to the American flag. Recent research has more completely catalogued names and addresses of all Mississippians who died in World War II, and similar records are available in the national archives for the ultimate heroes of other wars in service to the United States. Perhaps a secure computer screen system could provide permanent, scrolling display, or perhaps a book of memories whose pages are turned daily by volunteers can display, in calligraphy, handwritten names of all the Mississippi veterans who died in service.

In terms of time, the fast-fading generation of World War II veterans gives the project a heightened sense of urgency. Korean and Vietnam veterans are increasingly among the names more frequently seen in memorial and obituary notices.

The surviving World War II veterans are in their late 70s and beyond. The obituary pages of the Daily Journal bear sobering witness to the rate at which those from World War II are given a final salute and farewell.

Almost every American family has been touched in a blood relationship by someone who served, and remembrance always is an appropriate act of citizenship.

Various levels of donations are available, but contributions in any amount are welcomed.

Additional information is available at the Web site www.tupeloparkrec.com, at (662) 841-6440, or by requesting your e-mail address be included for regular updates. The mailing address for donations is Memorial Fund, Tupelo Parks and Recreation, Box 3608, Tupelo, MS 38803.