MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - After years and years of cleaning and clearing efforts, the 10th Avenue Masonic Cemeteries in Meridian have new life.
“For three and a half years, it took that time to clean this cemetery up, now we keep with clean with lawn mowers verses when we first stepped in this place we had to have a power saw,” explained Wayman Newell the Lauderdale County District 2 Supervisor.
Poppy Tucker a veteran himself started the efforts to clean the historic site, which grew into many volunteers over the years.
“We as a county keep it clean and I always will be eternally grateful to his service in the country and to his dedication and to the men who are buried in this cemetery,” said Newell.
The gravesite is considered the Largest African-American Cemetery in Lauderdale County, which became a historical site in 2011 thanks to the veterans buried there.
“The veterans are a part of our lives, they are the ones that motivate us to get up every day and do what we do along with our armed forces today,” said Linda Milling with Woodmen Life.
Woodmen Life donated a flag pole and a flag for each cemetery, to honor those 96 veterans.
“To me when we put those flags up, because that is what our world revolves around so when we put those flags on those flag poles it changed the look,” said Milling.
Now old glory is flying high above the cleaned up resting place for Spanish American, World War I and II, along with Korean and Vietnam veterans.
“I am very proud, and I am proud and humbled for these men that are buried out here especially the veterans,” said Newell. “It was all grown up and people tend to forget if our veterans didn’t fight for us, we might be speaking a different language.”
10th Avenue Masonic cemeteries consist of T.J. Wilson Lodge No. 113 and St. Luke Lodge No. 18. Collectively are considered Meridians Largest African-American burial ground.