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Ceremony recognizes ‘true heroes’

Floye McClelland fought back tears after unveiling thephotograph of the Lincoln County Veterans Memorial that her husbandBernard helped make a reality.

“He would be so honored, and I thank you all for letting me dothis,” McClelland said.

The unveiling was the highlight of a program to honor veteransTuesday at the Military Memorial Museum in downtown Brookhaven. Theframed photograph depicts the county Veterans Memorial that wasdedicated in May 1994 and is located a few blocks away at theBrookhaven-Lincoln County Government Complex.

“We couldn’t bring the memorial here, but we did the next bestthing,” said Paul Jackson, who helped organize Tuesday’s event.

The memorial honors 96 Lincoln County veterans who lost theirlives in World Wars I and II, Korea or Vietnam. Jackson saidBernard McClelland, who died in September 2001, was very involvedin getting the memorial established.

“We felt it was only fitting that we involve him in this,”Jackson said.

Floye McClelland described the event as a “great tribute” to herhusband. She said Bernard McClelland, who was memorial chairman forVFW Johnson-Day Post 2618, had a lot of help in establishing thememorial.

“He had the dream that came to fruition,” she said.

Earlier Tuesday, members of the VFW Johnson-Day post placed awreath in front of the memorial at the government complex.

Mrs. Jimmie Cross, formerly Mrs. Ed Aldridge, also participatedin the photograph unveiling. Aldridge, whose name is on thememorial, was an Army lieutenant in World War II and was laterkilled in Korea.

“It was a very impressive service and certainly a lovelypicture,” Cross said.

Several county officials spoke to the audience that crowded intoone of the museum’s display rooms for the Veterans Day morningceremony.

Dist. 39 Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith remembered U.S. soldierscurrently fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan and the 45 millionsoldiers who have served since World War II. She called them the”true heroes” in the country’s history.

“To each of them today, I just want to say, ‘Thank you,'”Hyde-Smith said.

Dist. 92 Rep. Dr. Jim Barnett pointed out that Mississippicontributed the highest per capita number of soldiers during WorldWars I and II and Korea.

“Mississippi continues to serve,” Barnett said.

Chancery Clerk Tillmon Bishop relayed a brief story about hisfather B.T., who is a veteran of Korea and was a prisoner of warduring the conflict. He pointed out the sacrifices made by veteransto protect the liberties that so many citizens enjoy.

“Because of what they have gone through, we cannot only talkabout freedom, but experience it,” Bishop said.