Gulfport Welcomes Home Military Service Men And Women

Veterans and active soldiers who live in South Mississippi can rest assured that their service is appreciated and will never be forgotten. Showing pride in the nation's military efforts, the city of Gulfport Saturday welcomed home all the troops who have served overseas with a special celebration.

"Gulfport pays tribute today to the people that have served us, defended us and made this country a much better place than it was on September the 11th ...," Ken Combs said.

Gulfport mayor Ken Combs called the men and women heroes.

Being recognized were soldiers from 16 different units from Gulfport's military community that have deployed during the war. Saturday's public celebration was to say 'thank you' and 'welcome home.'

"My name is construction man Gardner, I'm with NMCB 7, and we spent about 7 months over in Iraq and I feel very honored and privileged that the community thinks highly of us and it's an honor to be here today," Seabee Craig Gardner said.

"It shows that the country is coming together as one and there's nothing that can come between us when we get together," Rick Scrivner of the 1108th AVCRAD said.

"I'm tech sergeant Teri and I'm with the 255th air control squadron in Gulfport, I have not been overseas, all stateside support, homeland defense. I think this is a great affirmation for us and thank you very much," Baty said.

A blue sky provided the back drop to the American Flag flying high atop a Gulfport fire truck. A zephyr rippled old glory with waves as gentle as those in the shining Mississippi Sound. As you looked around you saw everyone with their own flags. Children, parents and grandparents held the stars and strips close to their hears, while veterans and community leaders proudly exhibited their love and respect for those who served.

"We recognize again who are true heroes are, not on the ball field, not on stage, screen or television, but those that wear the uniform that we call the citizen soldiers," General Cross said.

Commanding General of the Mississippi National Guard, Harold Cross, was just one of many who took to the podium after Mayor Combs.

"And Mr. Mayor, because of these people, because of these people who wear the uniform and come to the flag. The only fires that you'll see in Gulfport Mississippi today are from a barbecue grill and from a beach party and from the hearts of men and women who love liberty," Cross said.