WW1 Centennial Remembrance celebrations

Published 7:00 am Thursday, September 27, 2018

Two events will be held in Poplarville during the first week of October to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the end of World War I.

The city of Poplarville and the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors declared the first week of October as WWI remembrance week, Event Organizer Charlie Schmitz said. He said the point of the week is to increase public awareness about WWI, help youth gain more knowledge about its events and to salute those who fell during the war.

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On Tuesday, Oct. 2 at 7 p.m. there will be a demonstration at the Brownstone Center for the Arts at Pearl River Community College. Schmitz said people are welcome to arrive early. Several displays will include period cannons and a crew to explain how the weapons were used.

Schmitz said the American Legion will have a booth at the event, and author Susan Eble will be selling her book about the war. Beginning at 7, the Pearl River Central High School’s Navy Junior Officers Training Corp Color Guard will present the colors and the Pearl River County Community Band will play the national anthem and several period classics, Schmitz said.

The names of the 14 fallen soldiers from Pearl River County will be read, and the winners of the high school essay contest will be announced. The featured speaker will be Dr. Andrew Wiest who will be speaking about WWI in Mississippi, Schmitz said.

On Saturday Oct. 6, there will be a parade down Main Street in Poplarville beginning at 10 a.m. Schmitz said the parade will end at the WWI monument in front of the courthouse. PRCHS’s NJROTC, Sea Cadets from Biloxi and Mobile, Ala., representatives from the American Legion and the Poplarville High School band will be marching in the parade. A period cannon will be fired while the parade is moving down Main Street until everyone arrives at the monument, Schmitz said.

Recognition of the fallen soldiers will be given and the monument will be rededicated. Poplarville Mayor Rossie Creel will also give a short speech, Schmitz said. Several artifacts from Camp Shelby along with period machine guns will also be on display.

After the ceremony, graveside services at the Poplarville Cemetery will be held for three of the 14 local soldiers who died in the war, Schmitz said. These three soldiers include Robert Orville Carver, Charles Jefferson and Andrew Selph. Schmitz said family members of Carver and Jefferson will be presented with ceremonial flags. Selph’s relatives have not been located, so city officials will receive the flag in his honor.

Schmitz said the public is invited to each event, which are all free. Schmitz said the events will be hosted by the Pearl River County WWI Centennial Remembrance Organization.

The Margaret Reed Crosby Memorial Library will also feature a display of WWI artifacts in the lobby. Schmitz said there will be a photo essay about gas attacks during the war and there will be a period gas mask on display as well.  For more information, Schmitz can be reached at 601-795-6106.