Memorial parade makes memories

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Memorial Day is a time for Americans to reconnect with their history and core values by honoring those who gave their lives for the ideals we cherish.

Growing up on Cemetery Road, I experienced Memorial Day as one of the main annual events.

I looked forward to placing a flag on all of the soldiers’ graves, and most of all dressing up for the occasion, with my hair ribbon, shoes and socks to match my dress. My brothers, sisters and I would tip toe down the road so there would be no dirt on our shoes when we got to the cemetery gate, and so that we would stay clean because when we got home our parents would take pictures of us to send to relatives in Chicago.

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Before we would leave home, my mom would say, “Don’t get dirty or I won’t take your picture, if you do.” Can you imagine, trying to stay clean with stick flags? That was the hardest task, but we were successful.

I pray that the children today will take Memorial Day as seriously as we did when I was growing up back in the day.

At 11 a.m. Tuesday in the new expansion, the Natchez National Cemetery program committee will sponsor Memorial Day Celebration 2008, honoring veterans as well as non-veterans buried in the National Cemetery.

Please bring your family and friends and enjoy the program, which will include representatives from Fayette, Ferriday, Natchez and Vidalia.

The parade starts at 8 a.m. at the American Legion (Post 590), Magnolia Street, Vidalia, and travels south to Carter Street, east to the bridge, north at the Natchez Visitors Center for a 30-minute rest period. The group will then reassemble on Canal Street at Union Baptist Church, north to Franklin Street, east to Pearl Street, north to Oak Street, west to Maple Street, north to Cemetery Road and disperse at the National Cemetery.

The program will begin immediately after the parade arrives with scripture by pastor Douglas Broome of First Baptist Church, prayer by the Rev. Samuel White Sr. of Pilgrim Baptist Church, the Pilgrim Baptist Church Praise Dancers, Mrs. Eleanora Riley’s Group, the Youth of Tomorrow Group and more.

Volunteers are needed at 7:30 a.m. Friday to place a flag on all of the soldiers’ graves and again at 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday to help return the flags to restore.

Your support in this celebration is greatly appreciated.

Laura Ann Williams is chairperson of the Natchez National Cemetery Program Committee.