One Picayune woman’s passion for America’s fallen soldiers will soon be unveiled in Picayune.
A Fallen Solider monument is planned to be erected in the heart of downtown.
Trish Kennedy said she comes from a long line of Marines, which includes, her husband, son-in-law and her brother who is also a Vietnam veteran.
“I’ve always had a passion in my heart for Veterans,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy worked the ticket counter at Delta airlines in Gulfport for about 18 years.
During that time Kennedy said she spoke with a large number of military personnel.
Kennedy said she witnessed soldier’s deployments and homecomings as well as tears of happiness and sadness.
Two years ago, Kennedy visited the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall in Washington, D.C.
“I was humbled by it,” Kennedy said. “If seeing all the names of the fallen soldiers doesn’t get your attention, then nothing will.”
Kennedy moved to Picayune a few years ago to take care of her brother and reconnected with friends at the VFW Post- 3804.
Kennedy joined the VFW’s Ladies Auxiliary and is currently the president.
The soldiers paid the ultimate price for the nation’s freedom, Kennedy said, thus the idea for a Fallen Soldier monument was born.
She presented her idea to auxiliary club members and soon plans were being made to raise funds for the monument.
The monument will be placed at the Brick by Brick memorial at the end of Goodyear Boulevard, Kennedy said. It is 44 inches tall and made of bronze and will be mounted on a concrete two-foot pedestal and face the boulevard.
The Fallen Solider monument is in the shape of the battle cross, which was used to mark the location fallen soldiers after a battle.
According to battlecrossgeneration.com, the battle cross was first used as a burial marker during the Civil War.
After a battle, soldiers would mark the bodies the soldier’s rifle and its bayonet stuck into the ground with the hat on top, the website states.
According to the website, the helmet and identification tags represent the fallen soldier, a name to be remembered. The inverted rifle with bayonet indicates a time for prayer and paying tribute. The worn and dirty combat boots signify the final march of the soldier’s last battle.
“I have always loved this monument,” Kennedy said. “It’s beautiful and humbling. It doesn’t just represent one soldier or war, it represents every fallen soldier from this country in every war.”
Kennedy said the group is currently meeting with city officials to coordinate a tentative unveiling for Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2014.
Kennedy said none of this would have been possible were it not for every member of the Ladies Auxiliary and VFW-Post 3804.
Anyone interested in making a donation may contact Kennedy at 228-731-0850, Missy McKensie at 985-241-1709 or Gaylene Davis at 769-926-1058.
Learn more about the battle cross at battlecrossgeneration.org.