Bash Brothers Media wishes you a great Veterans Day weekend as we honor those who have served our country. Governor William Winter (U.S. Army, 86th Infantry, 1945-48) talked to BBM about how the United States’ victory in World War Two inspired the boom of Jackson in the 1950’s—with it, the construction of Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium as a landmark to honor our war veterans. “The Vet” would soon become “the college football capitol of the South.” From Winter’s interview for ‘Between the Pines, Episode Two: The Vet.’
WINTER: Those of us who came back from World War II at the end of the 1940s’ finished our education, and so many of us moved to Jackson for professional opportunities, and political opportunities in my case. The decade of the 1950s was a huge growth decade, not only for Mississippi but for the country at large. The 1950s were where we used all the momentum built up out of World War II to create really the great economic system that we have.
Included in that, of course, was the growth of Jackson, Mississippi. Jackson had been a center of military activity … We had the Jackson Airbase here and we had Camp Shelby (Hattiesburg, Miss.) right down the road. Jackson grew tremendously during World War II because of the military activities that went on here.
Then, right after the war, we looked around and we saw a lot of things that we didn’t have. Included in those things was a good football stadium. That’s when the civic leadership and the business leadership over Jackson got together and decided to build this stadium out here, to memorialize the contributions that those who had fought in World War II presented. It was a time of pride, the early ’50s, when the stadium was conceived, 1953 when it was open, which led to so many years of progress.