BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The historic ceremony at Beauvoir Monday morning was part ribbon-cutting and part birthday celebration. The day, which marks the birth of Jefferson Davis, is now also the day the new presidential library was dedicated.
Monday morning's library dedication followed a weekend of special events and celebration at Beauvoir.
Katrina heavily damaged the library building which first opened in 1998. Its replacement, described as an architectural wonder, is now ready to help educate visitors about Jefferson Davis and confederate soldiers.
Confederate soldiers presented the colors, while other re-enactors looked on. Bertram Hayes-Davis told the crowd his great, great grandfather was no doubt looking down and smiling.
"A day that we never thought would happen after Katrina. But we always had hope. Hope leads to vision, vision leads to action, and action leads to what you see behind us," said Davis, who serves as executive director at Beauvoir.
Southern pride was celebrated throughout the dedication. The leader of the Mississippi division of the Sons of the Confederacy said confederate ancestors face "assaults on our heritage."
"We are accused of being revisionists. Yet, I say to you here today, it is not us who try to revise history, to try and make it fit our agenda for the purpose of controlling the minds of the nation. But rather it is them," said Alan Palmer, leader of the Sons of the Confederacy Mississippi Division.
Following the canon fire and ribbon cutting, the public got its first look inside the expansive, impressive facility.
Alexis Saucier and her niece were among the admiring crowd.
"I think it's amazing. I think it's beautiful. It's a great thing to have here, a great landmark for people to learn more about Jefferson Davis and the Confederate army," said the Petal resident.
Library Director Nedra Galloway was happy to welcome the visitors though the library remains a "work in progress" early review are encouraging.
"Excited. Thinking it's a great facility. It's a beautiful, beautiful building," said Galloway.
The beautiful building will also serve to educate future generations. As Bertram Hayes-Davis put it: Jefferson Davis was much more than one sentence in a history book.
The Sons of the Confederacy speaker summed it up nicely.
"There must be at least one place left where a person can go and hear and learn the true history of the confederate soldier, Jefferson Davis, and the Confederacy itself," said Palmer.
Bertram Hayes-Davis told visitors to expect another ceremony a little later this summer, when the Varina Davis Garden will be dedicated.