BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - It's a longstanding tradition, placing flags next to veterans' graves on Memorial Day weekend.
Nearly 1,000 volunteers came to Biloxi National Cemetery Saturday morning to honor fallen heroes by adorning the graves of the estimated 16,000 veterans buried in the cemetery.
Planting the flags firmly in front of the gravestones, volunteers felt honored.
"It hits your heart and it really is an emotional morning, but I wouldn't want to be doing anything else," said Jennifer Lovely.
"Friends, family, veterans, people that served before me," said Robert Williams with a tear in his eye.
Williams traveled from Tennessee to plant flags on his parents' graves and others who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Some came in uniform.
"It's the least we can do to come her and think about them and make sure we pay tribute," said Captain Robert Hall.
Some moved fast. Some moved slow.
"I was just paying my respects to those that served the country," said Brian Huck.
Some had family.
"My father was a veteran of three wars," said Mark Geissinger. "We came out here to remember him and all the others that gave their lives."
With 13 stripes and 50 stars, many know the historical significance of the American flag. As volunteers placed them in front of the graves, it symbolized a lot more.
"It's the best symbol in the world," said Robert Echelberry.
"I mean it is life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," said Captain Robert Hall. "The American flag is everything to us."
Waving in the wind, red white and blue, they stood as a reminder that while these heroes are lost, they will not be forgotten.
The flags will be picked up Tuesday morning at 8 a.m. Volunteers are encouraged to come help with that as well.