A new event is taking place this year in New Albany to honor veterans.

There will be a luminary trail consisting of 3,000 candles inside decorated bags.

People can drive through the luminary trail, making this a safe way to honor veterans during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The luminary trail will start at the entrance to the BNA Bank Tennis and Soccer Complex off West Bankhead Street. It will wind its way back to the tennis courts where people can turn around and exit the park.

It will be held Saturday, Nov. 14 from 6 to 8 p.m. and is free to attend. But there will be an opportunity for people to make donations to the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 72, which is heading up the event.

The luminary trail was the idea of Heather Whittington and Windy Green, both members of American Legion Auxiliary Unit 72.

They didn’t want Covid-19 to put a damper on Veterans Day this year so they came up with the idea to hold the safe drive-through luminary event.

Whittington noted that the American Legion’s 9/11 tribute was not held this year due to Covid-19 and she did not want the same thing to happen to Veterans Day. She said somebody had to do something for Veterans Day.

“We didn’t want to drop the ball on Veterans Day,” Whittington said.

With it being a drive-through event, people do not have to worry about social distancing since they will be in their vehicles.

The local schools will also be involved in the luminary event. Students in grades K-5 will be given luminary bags to decorate for the veterans. The students can also put messages of thanks on the bags for the veterans.

This is a good way for children to learn about the sacrifices made by the veterans, Whittington said.

The bags will be placed along Tallahatchie Trails Road, which is the entrance to the tennis and soccer complex. The luminary bags will be divided based on the schools that decorate them. Jerry Burke of New Albany Sign Co. is donating signs to separate the bags by school.

During the drive-through, Terry Cook with WNAU 1470 AM will be donating airtime to play patriotic music, said Whittington. The fire department will have the American flag on display, and the police department will assist with traffic.

For those who want to volunteer to help with the event there will be a meeting Nov. 9 at 6 p.m. at the Ladies Building at Union County Fairgrounds. Volunteers will assist in placing the 3,000 bags and lighting them.

Those who wish to volunteer can call Whittington at 662-316-5295 or Green at 601-503-3574. People can also visit Veterans Day Luminary Trail on Facebook.

Donations are also being accepted, and any money that is collected goes to veterans programs. Dave Green with Caliber Home Loans donated $1,000.

Whittington hopes a lot of people drive through the luminary display to show support for the veterans. She feels as though the Lord is in this event because everything has lined up so perfectly. She thinks this is a good way for people to reflect on the sacrifices made by the veterans.

“I really hope that it’s inspirational and a beautiful tribute to the veterans,” Whittington said. “I think it’s going to be really pretty. I really hope that we have a great turnout.”

This is a way to let the veterans know “we remember you” and “appreciate you,” Whittington added.

There are a number of ways people can support the American Legion Auxiliary during the event. People can purchase luminary bags to honor a specific veteran. Sponsorship levels range from $20 to $1,000.

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