25th Year Saluting Our Troops

It's a tradition 25 years old and is known as one of the most prestigious events in South Mississippi. Monday, the Coast Chamber honored all of our service men and women at the annual "Salute to the Military." Guests enjoyed a dinner at the coliseum and a special tribute to our freedom fighters.

"It's important for members of the uniform to feel the appreciation of the American people, and frankly, that's what I like best," Guest of Honor and Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Vern Clark said.

"I'm absolutely thrilled to be in Biloxi tonight. I'm thrilled to be at a place where they're honoring the young men and women who wear the uniform, and who have served and distinguished themselves," Clark said.

Hundreds of people from all over South Mississippi attended the event, including business and military leaders, and our elected officials.

"We are at war, and for all these people to take time out and come down to the Mississippi Gulf Coast to show their support, it really makes troops feel good and we're really truly appreciative," Tech Sgt. Gino Moreno said.

Another soldier who was honored Monday, wasn't there. A table was set up to symbolize members of the military who are missing in action or prisoners of war.

The small size of the table symbolized the frailty of one prisoner alone against his oppressors. The white table cloth represented the purity of their call to arms. A single rose reminded us of the faith of families, friends, and comrades awaiting their return. A lemon symbolized a bitter fate, and a upside down glass reminded everyone that this soldier could not toast with us Monday night.

"If you look around the event tonight you can see evidence of how much the military and civilian community appreciate each other on the Gulf Coast. We really like it here," Moreno said.