Ceremonies Honor Sacrifice And Service Of Veterans - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

11/11/03

Ceremonies Honor Sacrifice And Service Of Veterans

Biloxi and Ocean Springs honored the sacrifice and service of veterans Tuesday.

Ceremonies in both cities paid tribute to military men and women. The events saluted aging heroes of years gone by, along with a younger generation of soldiers now fighting the war on terrorism.

A retired Keesler commander reminds the Veteran's Day crowd that America is at war.

"Let's take the politics out of this thing. We can debate all we want to. But get the politics out of it. And let's don't forget that winning this war takes people. Dedicated people," said retired general, Clark Griffith.

Dedicated, decorated veterans make up a good portion of the crowd. They understand sacrifice.

Albert Kostal is with American Legion Post 33, which sponsored the Biloxi gathering.

"Tremendous amount of sacrifice. More than words can say. But a lot of them, just like scars, they keep it to themselves. Keep it inside. They don't let it show," said Kostal.

"There's another generation of veterans in harm's way today," said General Griffith.

"What's happening in Iraq, we don't know what's going to happen from one day to the next. And we need to keep those young people in our prayers every day," said post commander, Leon Watson.

"Thank you for coming to our second annual Veterans Day ceremony," said the commander of American Legion Post 42 in Ocean Springs.

The Ocean Springs ceremony took place near the memorial which remembers those Mississippians killed in Vietnam.

State representative Hank Zuber was the keynote speaker.

"We should be ever thankful that individuals from each generation have been willing to serve America and in some cases give the ultimate sacrifice," Zuber told the crowd.

Rodney Wilkinson appreciates sacrifice more than most. His courage earned a Purple Heart. Veterans Day is special to him.

"Recognizes all veterans from all wars. It started out as Armistice Day when peace was supposed to last forever. But it didn't," he explained.

General Griffith told the Biloxi crowd America needs to hear the truth about fighting terrorism. The crowd applauded when he called for an end to "political correctness" when it comes to war. In the words of the general,  "politically correct gets soldiers killed".

By Steve Phillips

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