Several hundred people gathered at Biloxi National Cemetery on Memorial Day Monday.
They pledged allegiance to the flag, prayed for fallen soldiers and paused to remember those Americans who remain in harm's way.
A former Keesler commander reminded the crowd, America is still at war.
Patriots paused to celebrate freedom and reflect on the commitment it demands.
"I thank you for the gift of this day that brings with it the opportunity to stand and remember," said the military chaplain during the invocation.
Thousands of flag decorated graves nearby bear witness to America's wars and those who wore the uniform in defense of freedom. Veterans listened intently as a former Keesler commander spoke of today's ongoing battle.
"Ladies and gentlemen, we're at war. We've got to realize we're at war. And by the way, just like at Pearl Harbor, we can't lose this war. If we don't take this seriously and win this war, you can expect things like nine eleven to continue to happen," said retired general, Clark Griffith.
Kirney Lundy knows about answering the country's call. He's among those rare individuals who saw combat in World War Two, Korea and Vietnam.
"My husband is very patriotic. He fought in three wars and he thinks this is a wonderful thing," said Kitty Lundy.
Various veterans groups brought wreaths to lay at the base of the war memorial monument. Clarence Foster carried his own small bouquet. He wishes more people would reflect on the significance of Memorial Day.
"Unless they've been in it, they just can't imagine the horrors of war. I hate war. I really do. But I know a lot of times it's necessary," Foster said.
A firing squad salute paid tribute to the fallen, followed by the familiar, haunting bugler playing "Taps".
There are more than 13,500 graves at the Biloxi National Cemetery. More than 750 veterans or their family members are buried there each year.