At Camp Shelby, those who fought in the Battle of the Bulge during World War II watched Mississippi take the lead at the unveiling of a monument in their honor and in the honor of the almost 20,000 Americans who lost their lives during the Battle.
James Hunt is the Chairman of the Memorial Committee and recalls being a young man during the War.
"The Battle of the Bulge had started, and the Germans were making their breakthrough. We were marching toward Malmady, and we came upon this firebreak. We saw about seven or eight jeeps; the jeeps were pulling trailers. They had sideboard planks on them, and the trailers were loaded with frozen, dead, American GI's that had been massacred by the Germans."
James Stanley is the President of the Mississippi Chapter of Battle of the Bulge Veterans and says, "We had a 147.25 percent turnover in our regiment from casualties and dead and wounded, and that's a big percentage, so I thank the Lord everyday that I am still here."
Hunt continued his story by saying, "I knew I was going to war but didn't understand that and then when I saw these dead GI's, I said hey, this is not Hollywood. This is not a John Wayne movie. This is for real, and that's when reality set in and we became extremely frightened, but we made it through."
They did make it in the Battle that Winston Churchill called the greatest American battle of the war. Now, the Veterans are crediting Tom Brokaw's book "The Greatest Generation" and the movie "Saving Private Ryan" with reviving interest in World War II and the men who fought for freedom during it.
Hunt says, "For our future generations to learn about it and to realize that these folks did make the supreme sacrifice so that you could live in freedom."
Ray Carter is a Veteran of the War and fought during the Battle of the Bulge in what he said was sub-zero temperatures and several feet of snow. "It's something that future generations can see and probably learn about."