River crossing is great local tradition

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The scene in Vidalia and Natchez on Monday morning was enough to make anyone proud of our community.

Hundreds lined up at the Zion Baptist Church in Vidalia and began the trek across the Mississippi River bridge, all the way to the Natchez National Cemetery in Natchez.

Some rode in cars and some rode bikes. But most were on foot, walking the uphill route, only with a brief water break at the Natchez Visitor and Reception Center.

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That’s not an easy walk. However, those who made it did so in order to honor their friends and family members who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

For many in the community, the Memorial Day bridge crossing has become a family tradition. In fact, many Miss-Lou families plan Memorial Day weekend reunions that bring out-of-town family members here for the ceremony.

The tradition of the Memorial Day river crossing began shortly after the Civil War. In the early years, citizens crossed the river by ferry. In the 1940s, after the construction of the first bridge crossing the river, marching across the bridge became part of the ceremony that has continued since.

Those who served our country and gave their lives doing so paved the way for us to enjoy the freedoms and way of life we enjoy today. Those who, year after year, keep the sacred tradition of honoring them by making the walk to our national cemetery provide a wonderful example for us all.