Memorial day ceremonies

Memorial day ceremonies


On Friday, May 24, 2024, the annual Laying of the Memorial Wreath Ceremony was held at the Choctaw Veterans Memorial Wall south of Geyser Falls Water Theme Park. 

Veterans past and present, family members, and community members gathered together to honor Tribal veterans who have passed on. Miss Alice Keats, Tribal Member, former Choctaw Indian Princess, and currently Neshoba County's Miss Hospitality, served as mistress of ceremonies. 

The Choctaw Veterans Color Guard presented the colors, and Miss Nana Frazier sang the National Anthem in the Choctaw language. 

Retired U.S. Army Colonel Don Ahshapanek offered the invocation. 

Tribal Chief Cyrus Ben offered remarks, thanking everyone for taking time to pause and reflect on the sacrifices made by Veterans and their families and to continue to pray for families who grieve the loss of their loved ones. 

Special guest speaker William "Dan" Isaac spoke about the spiritual aspect of honoring Veterans and also recognizing that our ancestors are still with us as we have ceremonies like the one taking place. 

Chief Ben and Choctaw Veterans Affairs Director Sammie Wilson then placed the ceremonial wreath at the Memorial. The MBCI Protective Services Unit gave the 21-gun salute, and James Willis performed TAPS on a Native flute. Southern Pine sang the Memorial and Victory songs. Sammie Wilson thanked everyone for attending the program and supporting Veterans, and the program at the Memorial Wall was concluded. 

A reception was held after the ceremony at the Pearl River CERF Building.Attendees enjoyed refreshments and viewed a board that showcased the names of Tribal Veterans who have passed on. 

90-year-old-Wendell Jackson attended the Memorial Day ceremony on Monday at Dewitt DeWeese Park downtown. He was one of eight Neshoba County brothers who served the country. Five of his older brothers even served in WWII at the same time.

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