Jean McGrury pays a special tribute to veterans

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Veterans Day means more to Jean McGrury than many.

"I think more people think of it as a three day holiday instead of honoring our vets and thanking them for their service."

McGrury and her friends spent this Veterans at the Biloxi National Cemetery, where they placed almost 500 American flags on the graves of some of the servicemen and women buried there. That includes her husband, Dennis, and her father-in-law. In 2009, she lost her husband to a war injury suffered in Iraq a few years earlier.

The cemetery brings her a quiet kind of peace.

"This place just has a special meaning to me, and on Veterans Day, it's just my way of thanking our fallen heroes that only seem to get remembered on Memorial Day," McGrury explained.

It cemetery also warms her heart.

"I get filled with joy and pride when I come here and I see all these headstones and just knowing that these people fought for me."

Her efforts have an impact on others.

"I've gotten an overwhelming amount of support. My Facebook page has been blowing up with people wanting to come and help, donating flags, coming to place flags," McGrury said.

Several of the women who showed up at the National Cemetery to help Jean place the flags on the graves have husbands on deployment, and because of that, they felt absolutely compelled to be here.

One of them is Lisa Storie, the wife of a deployed Seabee.

"It's definitely hard to keep the family together while they're gone, but they're doing this for us, so I'm here to support them," Storie said.

For Jean, the graves are an extension of herself.

"There are so many veterans that are buried here that don't have family in the area or no longer have family members that are living, so I feel that all these headstones are my family."

Most important though, is the patriotic tribute to her late husband, Dennis.

"I miss him immensely. But I know that I'll see him again one day on the other side and I always said that he's on his last deployment and his last deployment is heaven."

Jean is working with officials at the National Cemetery to possibly expand the flag ceremony in coming years to include more graves.  Her Facebook page is called "Flags for the Biloxi National Cemetery."

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