Waveland American Legion Salutes Fallen Heroes

Charmaine Beverung looked up to the heavens. Four F-15 fighter jets soared toward Waveland in the traditional missing man formation.

Fortunately for Beverung, her son is not missing. The Marine and his unit just left Iraq. Master Sergeant Artie Krementz should be home in July. "I'm so proud of everybody," the Marine's mother said. "I feel for the families that their loved ones won't be coming back. And I appreciate everything these guys and women have done."

Throughout the Waveland American Legion Memorial Day service, the proud mother held a picture of her son in uniform. Beverung admitted the last few months haven't been easy. "Very tough," she said. Because her son is single, Mom had to do all the worrying. "I guess it's been all on me. It's been tough," she said.

Waveland's Memorial Day ceremony saluted fallen soldiers from past wars. That's why the American flag was at half staff.

The service also gave people like James and Linda Charles a chance to honor the living soldiers in America's current conflict. The Charles' have a son in the Army. She arrived in the Iraqi region a month ago.

To Mrs. Charles, Memorial Day is for everybody. "He isn't the only one over there," she said with tears rolling down her face. Dad finished Mom's thought. Memorial Day "is for all of them who serve their country, serve the United States of America. We love this country," Mr. Charles said.

At the end of the ceremony, American Legion members raised the flag back to the top of its pole. Post 77's chaplain then said a prayer that tugged at many hearts. "We pray that all of our service personnel return home safely to their family and friends," said the chaplain.