Everyone invited to memorial rededication

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 19, 2006

NATCHEZ &8212; All you need is a lawn chair and something patriotic, and the veterans will handle the rest.

Beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday, the Natchez area community alliance, is inviting anyone interested to a rededication of the veterans memorial in Memorial Park.

&8220;The memorial had fallen into disrepair for a number of years and become kind of an eyesore,&8221; veteran and project co-coordinator Mark LaFrancis said. &8220;So we decided to make an effort to renew and repair the memorial.&8221;

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The event is scheduled to last no longer than an hour and displays of flags and lawn chairs are welcome at the event.

&8220;The memorial means a lot to us and the community alliance, and I think it means even more to the veterans,&8221; Natchez Recreation Department Director Ralph Tedder said. &8220;We rebuilt it better than ever.&8221;

Short speeches, songs and a choir composed of students from local schools will highlight the event. Schools raised more than $4,000 for the renewal of the memorial.

Pins sold for the patriots bowling tournament raised over $2,000 and the Friends of the Vietnam Veterans pitched in $7,200. The Fighting Five Organization contributed over $3,400 and other donors raised $7,400. The donations totaled around $24,000 for the project.

The money raised helped to replace broken and cracked tiles, put up brass railings and install lights. Marble was placed around the flagpole, the flagpole was painted, a new flag rope has been installed and new benches were placed around the memorial.

Funds didn&8217;t stretch as far as the committee had hoped, so a buy a brick program, starting June 1 in the mayors office, will fund the unfinished landscaping.

&8220;By fall we hope to raise enough money to do a beautiful landscaping job,&8221; LaFrancis said. &8220;It looks really nice and just goes to show a community group can take on a project and get it done in a short period of time.&8221;