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Veterans honored Saturday with parade, museum opening

Veterans from Lincoln County and surrounding areas will behonored in a special way Saturday when the Military Veterans Paradetakes to the streets at 10 a.m.

The parade will feature more than 250 veterans from World War IIto the present who will walk beside or ride in approximately 35vintage military vehicles.

The vehicles will either participate in the parade or be ondisplay at the opening of the Military Memorial Museum in the oldrailroad depot at the end of the parade.

A new addition to the vehicle lineup is sure to spur someinterest, said Chad Smith, one of the event’s organizers. A vintagemilitary helicopter is expected to make an appearance.

“It may be just a fly over, but I believe it’s supposed to land.I’m hoping that will happen around the beginning of the parade,” hesaid.

The helicopter will land in the big parking area behind thedepot, he said.

The parade will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday at the old railroaddepot and travel along Monticello Street to Jackson Street, thendown Chickasaw Street. The parade will stop for a briefwreath-laying ceremony at the government complex’s VeteransMemorial before heading back to the depot.

The Lincoln County Exchange Club will be passing out small flagsfor children to wave during the festivities.

The parade, celebrating Memorial Day, will lead into the openingof the museum.

Vehicles, uniforms, equipment, photographs and other personalitems donated by area veterans will be displayed at the museum.Those items will be rotated regularly to keep the museum “fresh,”Smith said.

Several guest speakers have been lined up, Smith said. Paul Ottwill serve as the master of ceremonies and guest speakers includeBrig. Gen. Leland Berry, the deputy commanding general of theMississippi Army National Guard; Thomas Simmons, the Mississippiauthor of “Forgotten Heroes of World War II”; and Jack Lucas, theyoungest Medal of Honor winner in this century and a Mississippinative. Lucas is a former Marine who received the Medal of Honorduring the Iwo Jima campaign of World War II when he leapt upon apair of grenades thrown into his trench to save his fellowMarines.

Another new addition to the opening lineup is Drew HollandTigner of Wesson. She will sing the National Anthem during theceremonies. Tigner also opened the Dixie Nationals in Jackson thisyear.

Smith is one of several people working to make the museum andparade a reality. Others working to organize the events are Eric K.Boyd, Paul Jackson and Sgt. Benji Landry, a Marine recruiter fromMcComb.

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