Markers a good idea in telling our history

Published 8:00 pm Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen and the Vicksburg National Military Park have taken another step toward making Vicksburg a destination for tourists.

The Board Friday approved a request from park officials to install a wayside exhibit with historical information on the property near the monuments in the Pemberton Square Shopping Center on Pemberton Boulevard.

Scott Babinowich, the park’s chief of interpretation, said the 2-by-3 marker “will provide information about events that occurred in the area during the siege of Vicksburg in 1863.”

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The history of the siege of Vicksburg and its impact on the outcome of the Civil War is one of the most important stories in our nation’s history, and that’s what makes the National Military Park a primary tourist destination in Mississippi, not just for state residents, but for visitors from across the country and foreign visitors who come to experience the Nation’s history.

When the park was first built, it covered a much larger area than it now encompasses. The six monuments on Pemberton Boulevard that will be honored by the exhibit are only a few of the markers and monuments left in the city when the park returned land to the city in the mid-60s.

All one has to do is travel along sections of Confederate Boulevard and Iowa Boulevard to see other monuments, plaques and earthworks that were part of the old park.

Markers showing the locations of unit headquarters and gun emplacements are visible in the downtown area and along Fort Hill Drive, which leads to another entrance to the military park.

History — both the history of the siege and the city’s place in the history of the Blues — are what brings people to Vicksburg, and anything the city can do to enhance our place in history only makes it more attractive as a tourist destination.

And it’s good to see the city and the officials at the Vicksburg National Military Park cooperating to ensure our story gets told and enable those who visit here to experience our history and culture have every opportunity to learn about it and see it first hand.

Attractions like the waterpark and the sports complex will help attract tourists, but our history is still the main draw, and how well we tell our story is one of the things people will talk about and remember after they leave.

That marker will help with that.