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Today is July 25, 2021

Legion Square

Honoring Mississippi’s Veterans

By Steven Ward

Legion Square

American Legion Post 90 Commander Bill Harris and his fellow veteran members wanted to do something special to commemorate the 100th year anniversary of the creation of the post.

Formed in 1920, Harris had hoped to have their special project open to the public by July 4, 2020.

Then COVID-19 hit and pushed the project back a year.

If construction stays on schedule, a new monument honoring Mississippi veterans in Marion County will be open to the public next month.

Legion Square, a 44,000-pound gray granite monument, will be erected and then dedicated in Friendship Park in Columbia on July 3 at 10 a.m., Harris said.

The monument will feature 5 columns to represent all five branches of the military — Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and the Coast Guard.

The monument will be 12 feet tall and 20 feet long in a plaza featuring a walkway and red bricks surrounding the monument.

The families of Mississippi veterans — alive or dead — can have the veteran’s name carved on a red brick for $100. Active duty members currently serving can also have their name on one of the bricks.

Right now, the monument has about 600 names that will be displayed on the bricks, Harris said. He said he hopes to get more names.

“We looked at two different monument concepts and picked this one out,” Harris, 76, said.

Harris went to the curator of the Marion County Museum and Archives, Carol Durham, and asked her to draw up a rendering of the concept.

“Mr. Harris had this amazing vision. And I think it’s turned out beyond what we already thought it may be,” Durham said.

Harris said he thought it was important to create the monument for the community — and the entire state — to celebrate the sacrifice of men and women serving their country.

“It will be in the park and when you have young people playing in that park, they will see it and it will hopefully remind them about the people who volunteered to serve and defend this country,” Harris said.

He also said the monument is a reminder of the families that are left behind when mothers and fathers go off to serve in the armed forces.

Durham said the names on the bricks are what make the monument special.

“It’s one thing to have memorials and statues. But when you have names on there, that makes it very personal for people,” Durham said.

 

For more information about the monument or how to purchase a brick, visit the Post 90 American Legion Facebook page or call Bill Harris at 601-441-1638.

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