According Stephen Martin, the assistant director of Visit Meridian, the tourism department of the country, a war symposium will be held before the unveiling. Martin said Feb. 14 1864 was the day the burning started, so they thought it would be a perfect day to unveil the trail and this way relate to its historical significance.
The 10 markers included in the Civil War trail will display the historical significance of the location. The first marker to be unveiled will be on the day of the anniversary and it will located at Union Station. According to Martin, the area has great significance because of Meridian’s railroad system during the Civil War. There were only 400 inhabitants at the time and the city was located just on the Alabama border and it had a direct line to Jackson, giving the Union strategic importance.
All the storage facilities and the railroads were destroyed by Sherman after he managed to capture Meridian. He later wrote about the 10,000 men, who for five days, worked continuously at destroying Meridian and that nothing was left of it: no depots, no arsenals, no hotels, no hospitals, nothing. However, it was built back in only 26 days and that is how united the community was at the time, said Martin. The local officials have been constantly trying to establish the trail.
Visit Meridian’s Dede Mogollon, executive director says the focus of tourism officials is not to only preserve the history of the area, but also to give visitor to Lauderdale County something they would actually want to see. Mogollon insisted that most of the people who choose to do bus tours in the states, are highly interested in the Civil War or in the Civil Rights Movement, the Stars and Stripes reports.
“We are anticipating rolling outdoor recreation pieces in April; and very shortly after, Civil Rights,” said Mogollon.
People who use smartphones will be glad to hear that QR codes will be found on every marker, making it easier for those who are interested to find out more information. What it’s even more interesting and exciting is that with this trail, visitors don’t have to have a guide during their tour or follow any set hours. Since it is a self-guided tour, people can do it at their own pace.
“Being a stickler for historical accuracy, unless we can back it up and verify it — that’s why we’ve had to limit what we’ve done in terms of what we are putting out there,” said Martin.