Oktibbeha County Honors Veterans of World War II

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On Saturday, 28 August 2010, over a year's effort of planning came to fruition with the Recognition Ceremony and Celebration Honoring Starkville and Oktibbeha County Veterans of World War II. I was a small part of the planning committee for this event but it success is due solely to the tireless work of Bill Poe and Joan Wilson.

The event was sponsored by the Oktibbeha County Heritage Museum funded in part by a SOAR grant from the Greater Starkville Development Partnership. In addition to honoring the veterans, there was a panel discussion hosted on Thursday which detailed the early involvement of Oktibbeha County in pioneering aviation. The museum also conducted and recorded interviews of World War II veteran which will be available in the museum.

Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS) gave the keynote address on Saturday and he is to be commended for his outstanding address. His remarks were on target and stayed focused on honoring the veterans. All too often people who give speeches get off track with their personal agendas and actually detract from those being honored. Senator Cochran did not do that. He also kept his talk brief in recognition of the length of the program and the age of those being honored.

The keynote address can be heard below. The sound quality is not all that good but the video camera did the best it could.

Prior to the start of the ceremony, each veteran was given an opportunity to have his picture taken with General Freeman from the Mississippi National Guard and Parker Wiseman, mayor of the City of Starkville. Each veteran was photographed holding a steel plate with a cut-out of the flag raising on Iwo Jima. These plates were furnished by Gulf States Manufacturing, a company with a long history of honoring veterans.

Following Senator Cochran's keynote address, former Mississippi Lieutenant Governor Amy Tuck, the master of ceremonies, called the name of each veteran and their branch of service while a member of the Boy Scouts of America presented them with their personal steel plate.

When we first began planning this event we were hoping to have around 30 veterans attend. We ended up with 43. There were perhaps 200 or more from the community who came to honor these members of the Greatest Generation. It was a bittersweet time in that many who served are no longer with us and could not be honored. I thought of my grandfather most of the day. There were also many other World War II veterans in Oktibbeha County who were unable to attend the ceremony. We honor them all.

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This page contains a single entry by Robert A. Green published on August 29, 2010 6:59 PM.

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