Veterans memorial dedication set for Tuesday

Thomas Howard / The Meridian Star

A worker on Thursday spreads gravel underneath the RF-4C Phantom Jet Static Aircraft Display at the East Mississippi Veterans Memorial Park. A dedication for the jet and park ribbon cutting is scheduled for 1 p.m. Tuesday.

The East Mississippi Veterans Foundation will hold a ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony on Tuesday as the first phase of the East Mississippi Veterans Memorial Park nears completion.

The park, which was first conceived in 2018, was divided into four phases including the static aircraft display, the wall of remembrance, a freedom walkway and the armed forces plaza.

The static aircraft display, which was the first phase of the project, was completed earlier this year with the arrival of the RF-4C Phantom II jet previously flown by the 186th Air National Guard Unit out of Key Field from 1979 to 1991. EMSVF President Jeff Summerlin located the jet in an aviation boneyard in Tucson, Arizona in September 2018 and worked to raise the funds to bring it home.

“We are excited to reach this milestone for the East Mississippi Veterans Memorial Park with the completion of the first of four planned areas to honor and recognize all service members, veterans, and their families from Meridian and East Mississippi,” Summerlin said. “We hope everyone will come out and celebrate with us at this historic event and support the East Mississippi Veterans Memorial Park Project.”

After arriving, the Phantom was reassembled, restored and mounted on a pedestal near the park’s entrance. Additional work pouring concrete for sidewalks has also been ongoing to prepare for construction to begin on the other three phases of the park.

Tuesday’s event, which will begin at 1 p.m., will serve as both dedication for the newly restored aircraft display as well as a ribbon cutting for the veterans memorial park, Summerlin said.

For more information about the East Mississippi Veterans Memorial Park or how to get involved, visit emsvf.org.

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