After several months, the World War I Emile Ladnier Monument in Ocean Springs refurbishment project and Pershing Square, named after Gen. John J. Pershing, commander of World War I U.S. military forces, will be dedicated Saturday, April 9 at 10 a.m. in front of the Mary C. The public is invited. A joint project of city officials, OS Public Works and funded by American Legion Post 42. The square consists of scores of engraved bricks honoring veterans who have served for the past 100 years (in the United Sates or overseas) preserving our freedom. The city purchased bollards and chains to surround the monument, which was landscaped by the Public Works Department. A state of the art light was purchased to illuminate the American flag at night, and benches were purchased by the city and reimbursed by Post 42. Volunteers from the Seabees and Keesler and Sons of the American Legion assisted in the layout of bricks that were installed by a licensed contractor to complete the project. Emile Ladnier American Legion Post 42 of Ocean Springs, Miss., is named after the only Ocean Springs resident who was killed in action in World War I, known at the time as the Great War. He was killed just four days before the armistice was signed on Nov. 11, 1918. The post received its charter dated Dec. 18, 1919. Pershing Square, a collaborative effort by the Legion and the City of Ocean Springs, received the approval of Post 42, the city, the Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center Board of Directors and the Mississippi Dept. of Archives and History. Post 42 wants to acknowledge the cooperation of Ocean Springs city officials and all concerned who made this project possible. Pershing Square Project Chairman Richard Eckert Sr. said more veterans lost their lives in World War I than Korea and Vietnam combined, but we also wanted to honor all veterans who have served the past 100 years preserving our freedom. Eckert said the project received an overwhelming approval from citizens in emails and letters. Brochures will be placed in east and west travel stops on I-10 as well as the Mary C, the Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce, Ocean Springs Library and the Biloxi Visitors Center, as Pershing Square not only honors veterans who preserved our freedom but is an attraction to bring tourists to the city to shop and enjoy the many fine restaurants.
Photo: (Left to right) Ocean Springs Councilman Chic Cody, Tech Sgt. Sheila Fleming, Keesler Air Force Base, Seabees Volunteers BUC Mark Dickey, BU1 Dylan Jay, BU2 Alex Dubuisson, CM2 Jacob Jewell, Timothy Heath, Sons of The American Legion, and Seabee BU2 Charles Page. The Seabees are members of the Woolmarket Rifle and Pistol Range Staff.