Rudy Dill was an 18 year old Army corporal stationed in California when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.
"We wondered where do we go," he said, remembering what it was like when a San Francisco leave got cut short by the start of the war.
More than 60 years later, the World War II and Korean War survivor knew exactly where to go -- to VFW Post 2434 for its annual Memorial Day salute. A Keesler colonel was the keynote speaker.
"For the brave American volunteers who bear the risk, no victory is free from sorrow," Col. Rivera said.
Rudy Dill remembered being on a mountain during World War II when he lived through the sorrow the colonel mentioned.
"We lost 22 men" on that hillside he remembered, "killed in 10-15 minutes."
Col. Rivera's words tried to ease the pain of moments like that in combat.
"Every life lost is a tragedy," he said.
During the patriotic ceremony, Dill's mind wandered, first to his fallen comrades, and then to his family. He wondered "where my children, grandchildren are. Where they might be at my age, will they still be free?"
Freedom was what the men and women at the Biloxi VFW defended. The World War II, Korean, and Vietnam veterans all made America a better place to live. Now the greatest generation is passing that legacy down to the next generation.
"I would hope that they will all observe their commitment to freedom, like me and my brothers did," said Dill.