Walt's Look Around: National Park Week - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Walt's Look Around: National Park Week

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
VICKSBURG, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

It is National Park Week and that has implications right here in Mississippi. Not only in Mississippi but all across the nation, admission is free thru Sunday at all 400-plus National Park and Monument sites, including the one right in our back yard, the Vicksburg National Military Park.

The weather has been kind of moody and somber many days here lately at the Vicksburg National Park. It sort of matches the mood of what is memorialized here, one of the major conflicts of the Civil War. Will Wilson is a guide in the Vicksburg Park and explains the significance of Vicksburg to American History to visitors who come here everyday.

"Vicksburg is the turning point of the American Civil War," said Wilson. "It is really the time and the place where it becomes the receding tide if you will, for the Confederacy. When Vicksburg surrenders it marks the beginning of the end of the Confederacy."

Well, no matter the somber weather so far, the sun will be out this weekend and in honor of National Park Week, this being the 100th anniversary of the National Park System, admission is free to Vicksburg and every other National Park now thru the weekend.

"It’s a way for the Park Service to give back and let people come out and enjoy America’s best idea, the National Park System," added Wilson.

Some of the places you need to make sure you see in Vicksburg; the surrender site itself, half way between the Union and Confederate battle lines near the Illinois Monument, which is the grandest monument in the park. It is modeled after the Roman Pantheon. Two myths associated with it that aren’t true: One, rain DOES fall through the hole in the roof and, two, the echoes made in it DON’T go on forever. Just seems like it.

There is the National Cemetery itself. More Union Soldiers are buried here in the Vicksburg National Cemetery than any other. There are a handful of Confederates in here, too. But all are considered Americans now.

And make sure you see the Mississippi Monument. You may have to park and walk up to it to take in all of the intricate bronze work on it.

Vicksburg has been called the Art Park because of its over 1000 statues, monuments and tablets located in it. And when the sun comes out this weekend you can see it for free.

Don’t leave history up to an app on your smart phone, go see it for real (and take pictures and post them yourself.)

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