Memorial Day events planned for Monday

Published 10:52 pm Saturday, May 23, 2009

NATCHEZ — Traffic will be slowed Monday as a group of walkers parade across the Mississippi River bridge in honor of generations of soldiers.

The annual Memorial Day march will begin at 8 a.m. Monday when walkers will line up to begin the trek that will take them from Vidalia to the Natchez National Cemetery.

The group will congregate on Magnolia Street in Vidalia and follow a route that will take them across the river to the Natchez Visitor Reception Center.

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Once the group arrives at the visitor center, there will be a short break before the walkers continue the parade to the Natchez National Cemetery.

“They should arrive at the cemetery about 10:15 a.m.,” Donnie Verucchi, event planner, said.

Once at the cemetery, Verucchi said the formal Memorial Day program will begin at 11 a.m. The activities will include an opening prayer by the Rev. Sam White and the presentation of the colors by the Natchez High School JROTC color guard.

A brief history of the cemetery will be given, Verucchi said.

The Rev. Leroy White, a veteran of the Vietnam War, will be, the keynote speaker for this years service.

Following White’s address, there will be a wreath-placing service for all the different branches of the military and the retirement of the colors.

The ceremony will close at noon with the playing of Taps by two buglers.

“At noon every national cemetery across that nation will play echo Taps,” Verucchi said. “That should be a very touching moment in the day.”

Verucchi, who has been involved in the annual Memorial Day activities for many years, said he stays involved for one very simple reason.

“Memorial Day is about those who are not with us anymore. Those have have helped ensure the freedoms that we have today,” he said. “Someone has to keep the traditions and honor our fallen heroes.”