Historic sites, monuments and memorials abound in Alabama and Mississippi. During the Thanksgiving season, make time to visit these locations and honor the sacrifices so many servicemen and women have made.
Just east of Biloxi, Mississippi, in Ocean Springs, you can honor the state’s heroes at the Mississippi Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Standing as a living legacy meant to heal and teach, the memorial connects land, sea and air to represent the different branches of the military. It also includes the names and photographs of the many Mississippians killed in action during the war in Vietnam. These names and photos are displayed in an impressive four-sided structure with an open entrance. In addition, visitors can view the Tullibee Memorial at the Vietnam Memorial, honoring the crew of the USS Tullibee (SS-284) and all crewmembers of the 52 submarines lost during World War II. The monument features the story of the USS Tullibee and the list of the crew onboard, as well as other World War II submarine names and information. Find additional details at http://psysim.tripod.com/msvn.html.
The Vicksburg National Military Park
, located west of Jackson, memorializes the siege and defense of Vicksburg in 1863, during the Civil War. The surrendering of the city of Vicksburg effectively split the South, affording control of the Mississippi River to the Union army. Park guides offer guests a tour of the battlefield, complete with insight into civilian and military life as it was during the Civil War; tours normally last approximately two hours. If you prefer, take a self-guided driving tour using the park’s brochure and map. Along the 16-mile tour road, check out Vicksburg National Cemetery where nearly 17,000 Union soldiers are buried. For more information about the park and what to see and do during your visit, go to www.nps.gov/vick/index.htm.
In Spanish Fort, Alabama, you can learn more about Alabama’s Civil War history with a visit to Historic Blakeley State Park. The 1865 siege of Fort Blakely (spelled this way during the war) is famous for being the last major battle of the Civil War, occurring just hours after Robert E. Lee surrendered in Virginia. The park was created in 1981 to help preserve and protect the National Historic Register Site. In 1995, Blakeley was added to the Civil War Discovery Trail. Visitors are invited to enjoy the 10.5 miles of bike and horse paths, nature trails and other scenic locations. More information about the park is available at www.blakeleypark.com.
When visiting the town of Athens, Alabama, be sure to stop by the Welcome Center and take a moment to reflect at the Alabama Korean War Memorial. The monument’s separate pillars symbolize the individual geological areas of the war and honor the bravery of those individuals from Alabama who made the ultimate sacrifice. Surrounded by lush green grass, the memorial is a serene location ideal for remembering and honoring the fallen. Find pictures of this memorial and information about other Korean War Memorials at www.koreanwar-educator.org/memorials/al/index.htm.
Whether you travel to a national monument or spend a few moments reflecting at a local war memorial, make time to remember those who fought for America’s freedom.