Preserving the memories, while honoring and promoting the respect for those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our safety, liberty, and ability to prosper is of utmost importance to the City of Oxford. As a dedication to our veterans that lived in Oxford and the public safety personnel that have been killed in the line of duty, the City built Liberty Park. The park’s intention is to preserve the memory of the past; it is a place to memorialize our veterans and first responders.
Liberty Park offers a beautifully designed space for residents, friends, visitors, relatives, and loved ones to pay their respects and honor those who have given so much for our ability to live our lives safely at home with unconstrained freedom. We must remember those, as President Reagan said during his remarks at the Memorial Day Ceremonies in 1982, who were “loved and who, in return, loved their countrymen enough to die for them.”
Bill Partridge, Chief of the Oxford Police Department, shares that constructing Liberty Park was a unified team effort between the City’s leadership, department heads, and residents:
It is something all of us came together and got accomplished.The City Council and the Mayor agreed that we needed a nice place to pay tribute to our veterans. It is important that we remember those who have fought and died and those who have served in our armed forces. We should remember those who sacrificed their lives so we can be here today. We must be mindful of what it takes to keep us free, and Liberty Park represents it by those people out there. I look at all the people that have been killed in past wars; had they lived, what could they have accomplished?
Liberty Park is located at the south end of the Oxford Civic Center. Among its many features is a domed pavilion with benches for people to sit and reflect. It also includes a World War II era cannon, a lighted reflecting pool and fountain, as well as a natural amphitheater. The amphitheater will be used for services and programs such as Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Police Officer Memorial Day–events that the old Veterans Park, located at the “Y” intersection between Choccolocco and Snow Street, could not accommodate. Liberty Park has a section for veterans as well as individual sections for law enforcement, firefighters, and other public safety officers who were killed in the line of duty. It also has a section for prominent citizens of Oxford—former mayors, teachers, rescue workers, and the marble headers that were originally placed at Jaycee Park (which eventually evolved into Veterans Park and is now Liberty Park). One will find the POW/MIA and all branches of services represented at the lighted park.
At the Arlington National Cemetery, former United States Secretary of State and Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Colin L. Powell, U.S. Army, noted in a 1989 Memorial Day speech:
It is our nation’s veterans’ sacrifice in the name of peace and freedom that have made this country what it is today. It is by our veterans’ sacrifice that we get our strength and our vibrancy. We the living must ensure that their sacrifice was not in vain. The nation owes a great debt to its veterans, whose service to the nation spans every decade, every year, every day of our country’s existence. Through untold courage and sacrifice, America’s veterans have secured the liberty which the founding fathers sought to establish here in the new world. Whenever and wherever the nation has called–in times of darkness and danger as well as in times of peace and prosperity–America’s veterans have been there. Veterans have proudly carried the torch of liberty for all to see.
Liberty Park is free and open to the public 24 hours per day. We invite you to visit the park and hope you will join us in revering our own heroes for all they have done.