GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - If you were in Gautier for Memorial Day, you probably saw dozens of American and military flags flying at half staff outside city hall. A special flags ceremony was held to honor the fallen, veterans, and those still fighting to keep our county free.
Citizens, city leaders, and family members of fallen soldiers crowded around the Veteran's Tribute Tower in Gautier to remember the men and women who gave their lives defending our country.
"It is a testimony to those people, and it is the only one in the state of Mississippi and they cast that bell right here on site," Mayor Gordon Gollott said.
American Legion Post 1992 members led Monday's ceremony. The Commander, Bill Whatley, told the crowd it's important not to forget the sacrifices of those who fought on foreign soil.
"Americans must remember freedom is not free. In fact, it is only possible because our fallen heroes have paid its high price," Whatley said.
It's a high price Gautier resident Jane Green knows all too well. Green spoke in honor of her son, Major Michael Green, who was killed in 2008 by a roadside bomb during a tour in Afghanistan.
"God has blessed America in so many ways. And though we have losses, we still have joy and we are a grateful nation," Green said.
Renee Shaw saluted her family during the ceremony by dedicating a US flag in her grandfather's memory. Shaw said the Army veteran served in World War II and Korean War.
"It has been 34 years since he passed away, and I am so pleased to be part of this inaugural ceremony. I think it is long overdue," Shaw said.
American Legion members agree, and they hope the support and love for our nation's heroes will continue long after this patriotic celebration ends.
"Let us remember and let us pay it forward. God bless America and God bless our fallen heroes," Commander Whatley said.