Parents teach children patriotism adorning veterans' graves - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Parents teach children patriotism adorning veterans' graves

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

By Danielle Thomas – bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The graves of thousands of veterans buried in Biloxi National Cemetery are now adorned with American flags. People showed up Saturday morning to decorate ahead of Monday's Memorial day service. 

For some, paying tribute to the fallen heroes is a family event.

Eight-year-old Mateo Bans and his sister, Candace, carefully placed American flags on the graves of military heroes. Their father said while it's good to tell children about the sacrifices that keep our country safe, it's better to show them.

"I wanted them to see the headstones," said Jason Bans. "I wanted them to see what Memorial Day is about. It's not about cookouts, it's not about motorcycles. It's about paying our respects to the fallen."

Mateo said, "Because he wanted to teach me to thank our soldiers for protecting the country."

Biloxi National Cemetery officials say there are about 16,500 graves in the hallowed ground. Some people who decorate each year go to show respect for a relative or fellow comrade.

"I wanted to come out. I'm former military," said Ed Burkett of Ocean Springs. "I wanted to honor these people who served for us and I wanted my granddaughter to be a part of this so she can learn that there are people who died for her to protect her freedoms."

His wife, Mary, said, "You think of what would have happened if they hadn't sacrificed their lives. And the sacrifice does not have to be dying, it can be serving. That's a sacrifice too."

Parents and grandparents say they hope by teaching children to honor those who served in the past, the next generation will one day pick up the torch.

Jason Bans said, "If we don't teach that, then they won't be able to teach their children."

The Biloxi National Cemetery will hold its Memorial Day service on Monday at 9:30 am. Officials are asking for volunteers to come out to retrieve the flags around 8:30 am Tuesday.

Copyright 2010 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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