GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - The City of Gautier took its tribute to new heights this year. It partnered with American Legion Post 1992 for the city's first ever wreath laying ceremony.
Veterans were joined by community members as well as city and state officials at the inaugural event. In the crowd capturing all the action, was reporter Christina Garcia.
"United States Army, 24 years. I was in Korea and Germany," said veteran John Wilson.
"I was in the United States Army. I served in Vietnam and spent 23 years in the military." Veteran Ramon Steybe said.
"I am a veteran of the United States Naval Reserve. I did spend some time, two years in Vietnam between 1965 and 67," said veteran and Gautier Mayor Gordon Gollott.
It's time well spent for the veterans, who remember the years they spent away from home serving our country.
Amanda Sliepcevic brought her 2-year-old daughter to the wreath laying ceremony to personally thank our veterans and shake their hands.
"I brought her out here so that she could give thanks to all the men and women that fight for our country and for our freedom," said veteran Amanda Sliepcevic.
Navy Captain Jim Hurley shared the meaning of Veterans Day with the crowd.
"We honor and thank our veterans past and present for their service," Hurley told the crowd.
Mississippi's most decorated veteran Lt. Col. Riley McVeay received a special honor at the ceremony. The 82-yearold has more than 40 decorations over the years.
Men from Home of Grace sang, "God Bless America."
Veterans said military life has its rewards and challenges like losing comrades in battle and too much time away from family.
"You have to have the desire and the love for your country to actually put it in because it does put a strain on the family," Wilson said.
It's that kind of sacrifice that American Legion Post 1992 wanted to recognize with a patriotic celebration and a lunch a small way to tell the veterans, thank you for their service.