VIDEO: Natchez celebrates veterans with marching parade, awards program

Published 11:09 am Saturday, November 12, 2022

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NATCHEZ – Natchez celebrated veterans with various events and honors this week, including a marching parade on Veteran’s Day Friday.

Parade participants included United States Army JROTC students and Natchez High School band members, local officials and honored veterans.

The parade marshal was World War II veteran Levy Murray, who recently celebrated his 102nd birthday. Murray, a Navy veteran, served aboard the USS New Jersey, one of the most decorated battleships in the American fleet. He helped load anti-aircraft guns, and recalls seeing kamikaze attacks by Japanese aircraft. He served aboard the New Jersey when the atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan.

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Even in his 90s, Murray mowed his neighbors’ yards and cut grass at his church.

The video above includes scenes from the Veteran’s Day Parade.

Veteran’s week in Natchez began with an awards ceremony also honoring  Veteran of the Year Ben Tucker, an Army veteran, and the Patriot of the Year Ricky Warren, a long-time Scout leader. Veteran’s Week activities are sponsored by the Home With Heroes Foundation and the Mayor’s Veterans Task Force.

“Tucker is one of those who never really took off the uniform,” said G. Mark LaFrancis, president of the Home With Heroes Foundation, and chairman of the Mayor’s Veterans Task Force. “He serves veterans through VFW Post 9573 where he is Deputy Commander, and he is present for nearly every veterans’ program and event. He helps out veterans in need as well.”

Warren is a long-time scout leader respected for his devotion to scouting and his scouts.

“Ricky is a scout leader’s leader,” LaFrancis said. “There must be hundreds of scouts in the Miss-Lou who credit him for shaping their lives. Equally important is his ardent patriotism, evident by his organizing American Flag retirement ceremonies. Easily hundreds, if not thousands, of flags have been retired respectfully through his efforts.”