Skip to content

In the News

Driving Through Meridian: East Mississippi Veterans Memorial Park

Jun 1 2024
Nick Ogelle | WTOK

MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - One of the many things to do in Meridian, Mississippi is to take the family out for a day at the park.

However, this specific park holds a special significance to veterans and their families.

“To me, it’s just a way that we can honor those from Meridian in East Mississippi to have a dedicated venue or place that shows them respect and honor, that they should always deserve for their military service. With the Navy base and the Air Guard and the Army Guard, when you calculate the average size of the family and the how many military veterans and active people in the community, you’re looking at possibly 15,000 people in the area.” Said president of the East Mississippi Veterans Foundation Jeff Summerlin.

The East Mississippi Veterans foundation is a nonprofit organization that was established in 2018 with the goal of building a perpetual veterans park.

And over the last couple years they’ve added on to the park to make that founding goal a reality.

East Mississippi Veterans Memorial Park not only serves as a place with memorial pieces for veterans but an educational experience as well.

Of the over 1.1 million Americans killed in all U.S wars, 244 of those heroes are from Lauderdale County.

And at East Mississippi Veterans Park, you can find the names of all those local heroes enshrined forever on the wall of remembrance.

And that’s not all.

The park also holds a 45-year-old RF-4C Phantom II jet as well.

One that actually flew at Key Field here in Lauderdale County for 11 years.

Some big additions to the park are on the way as well.

On Memorial Day President of the East Mississippi Veterans Foundation Jeff Summerlin announced that $200,000 had been appropriated by the state.

200,000 dollars that would go directly adding on to the park.

Some of the new additions to the park include the Armed Forces Plaza, The Freedom Walkway, a UH-1 Huey helicopter, park signage by Highway 11 followed by more interpretive signs highlighting the history of Key Field, the Key Brothers and the Air National Guard.

The East Mississippi Veterans Foundation is also working on adding a KC-135 Tanker Tail for display in the park, a Blue Star Memorial, and a Hershel Woody Williams gold star family Members Memorial Monument.

The East Mississippi Veterans Memorial Park is open seven days a week and it is completely free to come see.

The East Mississippi Veterans Foundation invites you to bring your family for a day at the park.