BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - More than a thousand people gathered in Biloxi Tuesday night to say "thank you" to our military.
The 34th annual Salute to the Military was held at the Coast Coliseum Convention Center. The guest speaker was Air Force Secretary Michael Donley who said Mississippi can be proud of its strong support of our nation's military through the years.
"The men and women of the United States Air Force continue to provide unmatched global vigilance, global reach and global power across a full spectrum of operations for our nation," said Air Force Secretary Michael Donley.
While acknowledging that pending defense cuts will be a challenge, the secretary did not get specific about potential cuts.
"The budget control act requires reductions in defense that will extend over a ten year period. And we're just at the front end of that work so this was the first year that Congress saw the details of how that might be done," he said.
Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker says if sequestration is allowed to happen, it will mean even more devastating defense cuts.
"If it falls on Mississippi, it will cost us 11 thousand jobs. Potentially a million jobs nationwide. We can't afford that for our economy at a time of recession. And more importantly, we can't afford it for the future safety of our families and Americans," said Senator Wicker.
Congressman Steven Palazzo thanked her and everyone who wears the uniform.
"There's no other profession there's no other vocation in the world where so few sacrifice so much for so many. And that's why we thank you. We also thank your families," said Congressman Palazzo.
The large crowd at the annual Salute event is a testament to how much South Mississippi supports and appreciates its military.
Keesler Master Sgt. Nicole Dismute was chosen for the top award of the evening, the Thomas Fredian Community Leadership Award.