By Jef Rietsma
Vicksburg Village Council members are considering a plan to honor local military veterans with banners on street light posts bearing their name and image.
The matter was raised April 17 by commissioner Rick Holmes, who said he was inspired by a tribute he saw while on a business trip in a small southern Indiana community.
Holmes said the city of Batesville had hung banners of area residents who served in the U.S. military. Holmes said he was so impressed with the novelty of such a concept and the level of pride it created that he eagerly sought more information from locals.
“They’re about the same size of the banners on our light posts at the intersection of Prairie and Main that announce our 150th anniversary,” Holmes said. “They were military men and women who had served in armed conflict. I had never seen anything like that before.”
A stop at the Batesville VFW provided Holmes with enough information to discuss with officials from the local VFW when he returned home. Holmes said it appears the local branch is on board with the concept.
Holmes said he quickly noticed the 3-foot-by-2-foot banners are a strong source of pride.
He said the length of time such banners would be on display would be determined by municipal officials.
“The bottom line is, it’s a way of showing … that we want to honor those who did serve with distinction and served the community in an armed conflict,” Holmes said.
Village Manager Jim Mallery said there is an ample number of poles throughout town, affording an opportunity to display banners in various ways: two different veterans in side-by-side banners, two different veterans featured on each side of a single banner, or simply one veteran on both sides of one banner.
Holmes said he spoke to officials in Portage, where a similar method of acknowledgment is in place. He said there would be a cost to create a flag, which he expects a family wishing to honor its serviceman or woman would have no problem paying. Mallery estimated such a cost would not exceed $125. Mallery said he found out Batesville uses grant money he suspects the city secures through riverboat gambling revenue funding.
“Most people are very flattered to have the opportunity,” Holmes said. “If anything, there’s a waiting list in order to get their loved one up on a banner.”
Village President Tim Frisbie said he is open to buying banners out of his own pocket for families of veterans who may not be in a financial position to make such a purchase.
Mallery said he would like to conduct further research into the matter and discuss his findings at the council’s July meeting.
Following such a schedule, he noted, would put the banners on a course to be up and on display in 2024.
Vicksburg to consider banners to honor veterans
By Jef Rietsma