Military park lives up to its reputation

Published 9:46 am Monday, April 4, 2016

I went to Vicksburg National Military Park Saturday morning to talk to some people giving back to the park by volunteering their day painting cannon carriages.

The day of maintenance to monuments and landmarks was planned for the Civil War Trust’s Park Day and about 16 people, including visitor services manager for the Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau Rick Martin and Circuit Court Judge M. James Chaney, took the time to get up early on a Saturday and lend a hand.

I really wish more people had seen the value of Park Day, myself included. It would have been great to have seen large numbers of people out there getting even more work done for the military park and its staff.

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As I was leaving the park after I had spoken to several volunteers, I was asked why I didn’t stay and help. If it hadn’t of been my weekend to work at The Post, I might have stayed; however, if it had been my off day and I hadn’t been out there already, I unfortunately probably would have never thought to sign up and participate.

We’re all tired and want to use out off days for our own interests, but I think most of us would feel better by giving our time to someone or something else.

The work didn’t look to be hard or even tedious. It actually looked a bit fun and possibly a little therapeutic like an adult coloring book.

After only four hours of labor, volunteers were treated to lunch and a T-shirt. The park almost actually gave the volunteers more than the volunteers gave to them.

Since I’ve moved here I’ve heard how important the park is to the city. I always believed that was true because of the historical significance and because having a national park in your backyard isn’t all that common.

But, I’ve come to learn it’s more than that. The park seems to always be there to support the community too.

Ft. Hill is the host of the nondenominational sunrise Easter service that has been a tradition in Vicksburg for over 60 years. Every year in support of the Vicksburg YMCA, the park delays opening to the public to host the Run Thru History.

I participated in the 5K walk at the Run Thru History this year and it was only my second time in the park, and Saturday was my third visit. It continually amazes me how large the park is in size and what an asset it is to have for exercise as well.

I love a good outdoor walk, run or bike ride. Back home we have a beautiful little trail on the Tennessee Valley Authority property that I always long for on beautiful days like the ones we experienced here this weekend.

My eyes have been opened now to what is right here, and I intend to take greater advantage of the rolling hills and fields of grass just next door.