GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - In Gautier, the annual Avenue of Flags Ceremony was held at the American Legion Post 1992. This service is usually held at the state's only Veterans' Tribute Tower in Gautier. Organizers said the change in plans, didn't dampen the spirits of those who came to honor the fallen.
Patriotic songs echoed through the American Legion Hall and tears were shed as dozens of folks reflected on the heroes who died serving our country.
"Let us never forget the brave American fighting men who saluted the flag, serve beneath the flag, and whose coffins are draped with the American Flags," said Buffalo Soldier Abe Sherrod.
The Memorial Day tribute service was filled with representatives from various military branches, community members and loved ones of the fallen.
"It turned out wonderful. We knew the weather was going to be bad, so we moved it inside of the building and huge crowds. Everybody was standing and singing God Bless America. Let me tell you, our fallen heroes are not forgotten," said local American Legion Commander Bill Whitely said.
Guest speaker, State Representative John Read echoed that sentiment.
"If we forget their service, or we give only halfhearted acknowledgment for the lives it took for us to live today, we begin sending our nation down a dangerous road," State Rep. John Read said.
Read also talked about state legislature's commitment to create new laws to support veterans and their families.
"House Bill 33 provides a tax credit to employers to hire honorably discharged veterans who have served on activity duty after 9-11. House Bill 1124 that created the Mississippi Military Family Relief Fund," said Read.
To end this special remembrance ceremony, more than two dozen large American Flags were dedicated in honor of the men and women who gave their lives to fighting for our freedoms. A selfless act Mayor Gordon Gollott said South Mississippians should never take for granted.
"Let's renew our pledge to loyalty to our country and its flag," said Mayor Gollott.
This is the second year the Avenues of Flags Ceremony has been held in Gautier.