Car Show Raises Thousands for Vietnam Veterans Memorial

The Fourth of July weekend isn't just about fireworks.

It's also the time when the Mississippi Vietnam Veterans Memorial Committee holds its biggest fundraiser of the year--a classic car and truck show at the Ocean Springs Civic Center.

Antique car owners revved up their engines and showed off their wares Sunday to help raise money for the Mississippi Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Ocean Springs.

A few hundred yards away, Vietnam Veteran Robert Benson visited the memorial for the first time.

Although Benson didn't know any of the men whose pictures are on display at the memorial, he believes the monument is a fitting tribute, honoring the Mississippi servicemen who died in Vietnam.

"It's in memory of all those that were in the Vietnam era, and there were a lot of people who weren't recognized even though they were there," Benson said.

668 Mississippi servicemen gave their lives in the Vietnam War.

All but 89 of their pictures have been located and mounted.

"We have placed since November, 19 pictures. Now we have none on hand, so we're going to shift our priority to finding pictures, and then we'll have to use the funds from this car show to place those pictures on the wall when we do find them," said car show coordinator Larry Lucas.

Money from the car show will also be used to fund repairs to the memorial.

"There's lights burned out, we have to replace the flags approximately every six months. There are other things we have to use the money for," Lucas said.

As for Robert Benson, he's glad the memorial has come along as far as it has, so he and others can honor the memory of those who paid the ultimate price for their country.