Families of MS soldiers raise money to build monument

By Danielle Thomas – bio | email

WAVELAND, MS (WLOX) - Thousands of Mississippi soldiers won't be home for Christmas because they're away defending our nation's freedoms. National Guard officials say 4,000 guardsmen currently serve in Iraq and Afghanistan. Among them is Delta Company, First 155th Combat Arms Battalion based out of the Kiln.

Their families say they want to see a monument built as a tribute to the soldiers. As a former soldier and marine, Hal Harris said he knows what it's like to serve far away from home at Christmas time.

"Kind of terrible. Terrible," said Harris. "I don't envy those people that are overseas. It's not the best time in the world, but we've got to support them."

A Saturday bake sale in Waveland was in support of Delta Company, First 155th Combat Arms Battalion now in Iraq. The Family Support Group is raising money to put up a monument at the Kiln Armory, listing the names of the 40 soldiers and the dates of their current tour.

Judy Parker, the mother of a deployed soldier, is helping with the fundraiser to pay for the monument.

"It's a tribute to the soldiers who have dedicated and put their lives on the line over there for this country and our freedoms in this country," said Parker. "It's a tribute to them. We are proud of them. We want other people to see."

The soldiers left in June and will not be back until some time next year. Their families say that means it's going to be a very difficult Christmas.

"You can't forget that people fought. If they didn't fight, where would we be," said Melanie Davis, the wife of a deployed soldier. "It's hard, but I think people take our freedom for granted. We shouldn't because it's the holiday season. It's the Christmas season, and there are so many guys that are not going to be home for Christmas. It's hard, and we can't forget that."

The families say they are counting on donations to build a tribute to the soldiers that will help their children and their grandchildren know of their courage and sacrifice.

The Family Support Group is not yet sure of the type or size of monument that will be erected. The families said it will depend on how much money they are able to raise.

If you would like to donate, call 601-408-2548.

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