D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - Nov. 12 marks the first year since 2011 that the annual Gulf Coast Veteran's parade was held in D'Iberville. As far as the more than 5,000 attendees were concerned, it certainly didn't disappoint.
"It just makes me feel good to be an American," said retired U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Roger Henley.
Spectators traveled from as far as Meridian to pay tribute to veterans who served the country and fought for freedom.
"How great it is to have all of these buses from all over the country, Meridian and all that, just to come. It started off as a small parade seven, eight years ago with hardly a dozen people there. Now look where it is today," said Henley.
Former WLOX anchor Jeff Lawson MC'd the event and welcomed Grand Marshals Lt. Col. Henry J. Burkle and Officer Tom Adams; both of whom were stationed at Keesler Air Force Base when it first opened in 1941.
Several high schools from all over the Coast were there to represent, including West Harrison JROTC; who throws its own veteran's celebration each year.
Twenty-four years in the Air Force has taught Joe Kelley to enjoy the simple things in life.
"Marching bands have a certain feel to them. I will probably be trying to keep my feet still watching a band come through here," said Kelley, who comes to the parade every year for another reason. "I come from the Vietnam era. At that time, nobody really liked the military....I am so happy, to see the men being honored now, and the ladies."