BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - At precisely 11am on November 11, 1919, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Armistice Day, marking the end of World War I. That day became Veterans Day, a time set aside every year to honor military veterans.
At exactly 11am on Thursday, American Legion Post 33 kicked off a Veterans Day ceremony at the Biloxi Small Craft Harbor. Keynote speaker Colonel Glen Downing from Keesler Air Force Base had a message that transcends generations of service men and women.
"Our veterans from the past, the greatest generation, are to be cherished and honored. The young people serving today are amazing. The things they do and their sacrifices are also to be celebrated," Downing said.
Veterans in attendance celebrated the day with reverence. Some, like retired Air Force Lt. Col. Dick Wilson, can be overwhelmed by the raw emotion of a national holiday set aside just to honor those who've served.
"People are still aware that somebody is out there fighting for the freedom of this nation. To be one is great," Wilson said as he chocked back tears.
Memorial Park at the Small Craft Harbor features monuments dedicated to Purple Heart recipients.