Memorial Day Ceremony 2024

When: Friday, May 24th at 10:00 AM

Where: Mississippi Armed Forces Museum 

Join us for MAFM’s annual Memorial Day Ceremony where we give special honor and recognition to those who sacrificed their lives while serving their country. Special tribute will be given to Mississippian Second Lieutenant Sam B. Dale, Jr., who was killed in action on July 4, 1944, during a mission over France. Speakers will include Keltoum Rowland, the Honorary Consul of France for Mississippi. A laying of the wreath ceremony at the Gold Star Families Memorial Monument on MAFM’s grounds will conclude the event. 

The event is free and open to the public.

About Sam B. Dale, Jr.

World War II fighter pilot Sam B. Dale, Jr., was born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, on November 26, 1918. After moving to Columbia in 1927, he enlisted in the US Army Air Forces upon the United States entering the war. Dale, a Second Lieutenant, flew with the 63rd Fighter Squadron, 56th Fighter Group.

Tragedy struck for Second Lieutenant Dale on July 4, 1944, during a mission over France. Dale had been leading his squadron home from a strafing mission when they came under attack from four German aircraft. Out of ammunition, and in an attempt to escape, Dale flew his plane low, ultimately crashing over the small village of Le Mesnil-Faguet. Later, Dale’s family would learn that he attempted to eject, but the plane was too close to the ground for his parachute to deploy.

In 2018, the village of Le Mesnil-Fuguet contacted Dale’s relatives, nieces Margaret Chance and Barbara Broome, through intermediaries. The townspeople wished to honor Dale’s heroism and sacrifice with a ceremony and a permanent memorial at their City Hall. Keltoum Rowland, the Honorary Consul of France for Mississippi, accompanied Dale’s relatives to France for the moving tribute.

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