GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - On each Memorial Day from Highway 53 you can see a garden of red, white, and blue dancing in the wind.
"Each one of those crosses represents a buddy of mine that was killed in Korea, in combat with us. We were all together. I always put them up every year. Each one represents one individual that was killed. And, that's 20 of them out there, and they were my buddies that were killed in Korea," said Korean War Veteran Derril Silkwood.
Derril Silkwood was just 19-years-old when he was sent to Korea with his platoon of about 40. The young man went in as a corporal and left as a sergeant. Only half of his original platoon made it home.
"I never regretted it. We were over there and it was an experience, but we looked after one another when we were there. But it was quite an experience and like I said, it's in honor of them, not me," said Silkwood.
So many years later, he hasn't forgotten his buddies, men like Herbert Parker who was both a commander and a friend. Each year, he places a cross and flag in memory of every name.
"These men represent this country. And, they are all deceased. They were killed in Korea," said Silkwood through tears. "But, it's not about me. It's about them."
On this memorial day, Silkwood has a simple message:
"Everybody needs to realize it's an honor to represent this country, and I think that's the best thing that all of them can know is that it's an honor to represent the United States in the military. Any service, whether it be Army, Navy, Marines, they're all equal," said Silkwood.