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Remembering John C. Stennis

By By Fredie Carmichael/The Meridian Star
Aug. 1, 2001
Friends, family and colleagues of the late U.S. Sen. John C. Stennis will head to Seattle this weekend to mark the lawmaker's 100th birthday aboard the ship that bears his name.
Stennis, who died in April 1995, would have been 100 on Friday. His birthday will be celebrated on the USS Stennis an event that Rex Buffington said would have made the senator uncomfortable.
Festivities kick off Saturday at 2 p.m. on the USS Stennis. Friends and colleagues will speak in Stennis' memory; the ship's crew and officers also will honor the former senator.
U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering, who represents the Meridian area and the 3rd Congressional District, said that it is a tribute to East Mississippi for America to celebrate the senator's birthday.
The USS Stennis, which normally resides in San Diego, is in Seattle this weekend for the annual Sea Fair Festival. The ship is one of the U.S. Navy's largest and most powerful nuclear-powered aircraft carriers.
While some people say that Stennis also was a large and powerful figure in national government, friends and colleagues say he was simply a humble man who accomplished a lot in his 60-year political career.
Reagan said in a 1988 speech that Stennis left an "impression on American government that is difficult to measure and hard to fully describe. He has demonstrated for all of us that one man. . .can make a difference."
Buffington agreed: "His legacy is carried on through the individuals that accompany the USS Stennis. This is a day for them to show their appreciation for him."
Fredie Carmichael is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3228 or e-mail him at fcarmichael@themeridianstar.com.