Biloxi dedicates Twelve Palms memorial to fallen WWI soldiers

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The City of Biloxi hosted a Veterans Day ceremony to re-dedicate the "Twelve Palms" memorial.

Back in 1919, a dozen palm trees were planted in the city park on Reynoir Street to commemorate 12 Biloxi servicemen who were killed in World War I. The palm trees and accompanying monument now have a new home facing Biloxi Bay in the Biloxi Businessmen's Park at Forrest Avenue and Bayview.

"The palms are gone. The park's gone. But we're going to renew that. And we'll do that today," said Errol Bradley, with the Biloxi Bay Chamber, during his opening remarks.

The Cleophan Club was the group behind the original memorial. Club members also helped make this renewed version a reality.

"We are just so proud to be celebrating Veterans Day. And this, especially with these 12 palms," said club member Susan Delgado.

"First and foremost, I want to thank our veterans for all their sacrifices. I want to thank our current military men and women that are standing guard right now at borders on foreign lands, to make sure these great freedoms we have secured," said Harrison County Supervisor Windy Swetman.

The re-dedication of the "Twelve Palms" included the same dedication speech that was delivered in March of 1919.

"That the palms we are dedicating today will serve as torches held high. That they may remind us not only of the sons we mourn, but of the great cause for which they gave their lives," said Bonnie Luft, the president of the Cleophan Club.

The ceremony included the unveiling of a granite marker and plaque, which commemorates Biloxi's dead heroes from World War I. Darnell Nicovich's great uncle, Charles Nicovich, is among those dozen names remembered.

"We did know there was a park years ago that his name was etched on a memorial plaque. So, it's nice that it's been rededicated and brought to the forefront," she said.

Future generations will now be reminded of the service and sacrifice these 12 palms represent.

"And we're just so happy to be part of it today. And it's a gorgeous day and everybody's happy," said Lois Coquet, a member of the Cleophan Club.

You may be wondering, why palm trees? During the dedication speech, Bonnie Luft explained that, in ancient times, palm branches symbolized victory and triumph.

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