Veterans tribute tower hosts official dedication

GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - Mississippi's veterans tribute tower was officially dedicated Friday in Gautier. It stands 35 feet tall, adorning the front of Gautier City Hall with a memorial bell.

"I can't really put it into words what it means," said veteran Donnie Thomas.

"It means just about everything to me," said commander of American Legion Post 1992 Jerry Walters.

Walters is one of the many to whom this tower is dedicated.

He served in the Air Force and Army for 23 years.

"I'm forever grateful, forever grateful," said Walters.

Alongside Walters is Bob Backel.

"It just hits home. It recalls my memories of the 20 years and the present," said veteran Backel.

Governor Phil Bryant was the keynote speaker for the dedication, bringing a personal story to a big cause.

"I remember stories as a young boy about my father when he was about 17 years old when he left his home to go fight a war in the South Pacific. My dad said the first new pair of shoes he ever owned, the navy bought for him," said Governor Bryant.

Governor Bryant said this tribute tower is an honor to the veterans and it's a beautiful thing to the city of Gautier, but it also means a lot more.

"Take time, as that clock tells us to remember that those soldiers, and sailors and airmen that gave their very life to protect us and continue to do so today," said Governor Bryant.

The tower features 4 clock dials and 250 pound, 24 inch diameter bell.

It stands in honor of these men. It's a message that's heard loud and clear.

Copyright 2012 WLOX. All rights reserved.