Veterans Day event honors Crocker, others who served

Veterans Day event honors Crocker, others who served


Neshoba County residents celebrated Veterans Day last week to honor the men and women who have served in the nation’s armed forces.

Many joined at the Neshoba County Coliseum last Thursday for the annual Veterans Day service. In addition, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians held a parade and ceremony on the Reservation Friday.

Bad weather forced the ceremony inside at the Neshoba County Coliseum for the first time. The service is usually held at Dewitt DeWeese Park near the Fallen Veterans monument.

Retired Col. Ray Crocker was the man of the hour. Not only was he the speaker for the program, but he was recognized with a plaque for being this year’s Citizen of the Year. Crocker headed the effort to rebuild the Fallen Veterans Memorial plaza that was damaged by a tornado. It reopened last year during Veterans Day services.

“Veterans know that freedom is not free,” Crocker said. “They know you have to be ready when the time comes to move. When they were in the service, they had to train all of the time to be ready for whatever came up. But the biggest thing is they knew freedom wasn’t free, and they were willing to go and do what needed to be done to keep us free.”

Crocker said this was the attitude the committee took when they started raising money to rebuild the memorial.

“The attitude we took was it wasn’t going to be second class,” Crocker said. “It was going to be as good as we can do. And it wasn’t going to take years to get it.”

The Neshoba Central Navy JROTC started the program with the presentation of colors. Then, Renfred Rush sang the National Anthem.

After Crocker’s speech, Rush sang God Bless America.

The weather was much better on Friday as members of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians held a Veterans Day celebration.

The celebration included a parade of veterans, Tribal Chief Cyrus Ben, Choctaw Indian Princess Shemah Ladania Crosby, tribal youth groups and others.

Some participants marched carrying American flags. Some rode in patriotically decorated vehicles, some pulling trailers bearing American flags.

The event culminated at the Choctaw Veterans Memorial for a ceremony where Crosby, Ben and others spoke to honor the veterans.

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