BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Christmas is a time of giving and putting others before yourself, and that's exactly what hundreds of South Mississippians did Saturday morning at Biloxi's National Cemetery for the Riemann Funeral Home's second annual wreath laying ceremony.
Volunteers wanted to show they haven't forgotten the sacrifices of the thousands of veterans who have fallen while serving our country.
Dianne and Debbie Moore are the daughters of Chief Master Sgt. Thomas Moore, who was honored at the wreath laying ceremony. He's a P.O.W. and man that remains missing to this day.
"It leaves a hole," Dianne said. "There's no closure. It's like a circle that never got that end to it."
Moore's memorial stands at the Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA, but since his family is from Biloxi, his girls thought this wreath laying ceremony was a perfect way to pay their respects to other families who have fallen warriors that have also passed away.
"I love it. I was two when my dad was captured, so every vet that I've come in contact with has been a part of what I believe my dad would've been like," Debbie said, "To be able to come out here and assist families that can't be here or little girls that their dads past away, it's just something so special to be able to do for them."
Players from the St. Patrick basketball team were amongst the hundreds of wreath laying volunteers.
"It's an honor for us to be out here today and to lay the wreaths on the graves. We came out as a team to show support for the veterans and for our community," Assistant Coach Finley Hewes said.
Whether the volunteers had family members at Biloxi National Cemetery or not, it was a way for them all to say merry Christmas to the ones that have made being an American so great.
"The land is sacred, and we feel that to lay a Christmas wreath is to be able to celebrate Christmas that we weren't able to celebrate all those years. It gives us a chance to say merry Christmas to somebody, and we're happy to be here. The tears, you know, 50 years will be this next October, and we hope and we don't give up faith that maybe sometime, somewhere remains will be found," Dianne said.
Thanks to donations, Riemann Funeral Home was able to lay 4,000 wreaths at veteran's memorials. Funeral home President Chad Riemann asks for even more volunteers to help collect the wreaths on Saturday, Jan. 3.