Jimmie Rodgers Remembered

The 76th anniversary of the death of "The Father of Country Music" was marked by the tradition of laying a wreath at his grave site in Meridian.

Family and loyal fans of Jimmie Rodgers traveled from near and far to witness the event that happens every May 26 at Oak Grove Cemetery. It started in the 1950s and is sponsored by the Jimmie Rodgers Foundation.

Rodgers died May 26, 1933, from complications thought to be related to tuberculosis. He was 35.

Anne Landrum of Meridian is Rodgers' second cousin.

"It makes me feel so good that Jimmie is still within the hearts of the people," said Landrum. "And I'm just so happy that his music has touched so many people."

The impact of Rodgers' music is especially evident when talking to those who travel great distances each year for this event. Jane and Norm Rigby cam from Australia.

"Well, it's worth it because we're just very good fans of Jimmie Rodgers and I've been listening to Jimmie Rodgers since I was about 10 years of age," said Jane.

"'If I were to pick a number one favorite, regardless of musical endeavor, it would be Jimmie Rodgers," said John Nolan of Canada.

"Jimmie Rodgers is a significant person in the framework of American music and it's very important for us to keep his memory alive so no one forgets who created the unique form of music we enjoy today, which is country music."

WTOK is a title sponsor of the annual Jimmie Rodgers Festival.

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