GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - A touching tribute in Gautier honored the men and women who gave up their lives while serving their country. Families remembered their fallen loved ones with a flag dedication. The Memorial Day ceremony was filled with patriotism and heart.
They came to remember their loved ones and comrades who died defending our country.
"Today is a day of remembrance and recognition for those who came before us," said Lt. Andrew Pritchett with the U.S. Coast Guard.
More than 100 people braved the searing heat at the Veterans Tribute Tower for a solemn, patriotic Avenue of Flags ceremony.
"Memorial Day is not about barbecues and bedding sales. It's about heart and I have some in my family that exhibit heart," said Jane Green.
Green's youngest son, Michael, was killed in Afghanistan in 2008. In honor of her son, Green presented a special American flag to the Gautier/Vancleave American Legion Post 1992.
"When she passed the flag over, that signified that was a veteran that died. Hopefully, they touched a few people's hearts," said Navy veteran Merrill Molaison.
Green also dedicated an American flag in honor of her son. So did five other people. Seven-year-old Jessica Leeann Jones paid tribute to her grandfather, Navy veteran Philip Jones.
"I wanted to honor my grandfather, because he gave us freedom. My dad, his dad, he was fighting in the Navy and he died in 2006. My dad, I bet he was crying," said Jessica.
The six new flags will now fly next to the other 24 flags that were dedicated in two previous ceremonies.
"Honored. It's a very awe-inspiring sight. They understand that we're paying our respects to those that paved the way for us," said Avenue of Flags Coordinator Paul Mohning.
"Our children must know who they were, what they did, and why they did it. To do anything less would be a disservice to their sacrifice and their memory," a chaplain prayed.
The Gautier/Vancleave American Legion Post 1992 also hosted a free fish fry after the ceremony.