GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - They arrived by walking up a star spangled sidewalk. Then eating a breakfast fit for a king. Much better than wartime food. Entering the gym Monday, the vets were greeted with a loud and proud salute. But you could hear a pin drop when the Pow-Mia flag was brought in. The vets soaked it all in.
One of them was J.R. Wilson.
"It means a lot. It lets me know that they remember what we did for them to keep this country free and to keep our freedoms solid," Wilson said.
Another was Hollis McArthur.
"This is very outstanding and I appreciate it. And I'm quite sure the other veterans appreciate it as well." McArthur said.
First timers, like Tuladus Hennings, couldn't believe the love and respect being shown by teenagers.
"I was overwhelmed with all the support and everything that was set up and so well organized. It was very touching, very emotional for me," Hennings explained.
Even though Monday's event was the 15th year for the veterans tribute at Gautier High School, none of it would be possible, the breakfast in the cafeteria, the program in the gymnasium, without the efforts of hundreds of student volunteers, volunteers like Precious Betts.
"I like interacting with them because I plan on going into the military myself and to learn the experiences and how they felt about it really gives me hope in the military," Betts said.
The guest speaker and Gautier High Graduate, was retired marine Anthony McDaniel, badly wounded in Afghanistan in 2010. Like a true hero he honored those who came before.
"I learned all this from men and women, the people sitting at the front and my parents, that taught me right from wrong," McDaniel told the crowd.
Then a somber tribute, as Mississippi's war dead are remembered. Finally, a rousing send-off for these American heroes. Several other coast schools have planned events to honor military men and women Tuesday during Veterans Day.