GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - For decades, David Potts patriotism has demonstrated unquestionable patriotism.
This Saturday, the 93-year-old veteran will say the Pledge of Allegiance at the opening ceremony for the Sounds by the Sea Concert in Gulfport.
He is one of the last remaining veterans from a special unit called the Montford Point Marines, an all-black Marine Corps Unit that served during World War II. "It's among the best fighting forces in the world, is the United States Marine Corps," he said. "And I was a part of it. And I love that Marine Corps."
He joined the marines after he was told he couldn't be in the Army with his brother. "Out of the clear blue sky, I said Marine Corps," he said.
He didn't train with the majority of Marines. He was one of 20,000 black servicemen known as the Montford Point Marines, named after their training camp in North Carolina.
He, along with most of the others, trained for battle, but they served in the background. "The blacks were in support of the white marines. Holding ammunition, guard duty and cooking and waiting on them. This kind of stuff."
Throughout his training, he said he and the other Montford Point Marines were treated badly, even at chow hall. He remembers, "A white marine came to the door and he pulled that door open, and what did he see? Nothing but black faces. You know what he did? Closed that door back."
He noted his time in an aircraft carrier, "We weren't allowed in that sleeping quarters. We had to sleep in sleeping bags on the deck of the hanger deck where the airplanes were stored."
There was also a moment when he finally was able to board a bus in Gulfport to head back to training after furlough. "The bus was already loaded," he said. "I'm going to North Carolina from Gulfport and I've got to hold the rails with no seats."
Despite it all, he's loyal and still patriotic. Potts said he never complained, "The only thing I knew was to be obedient to what was handed to me."
The honors eventually came, including a Congressional Medal of Honor. "I was happy I was able to serve," Potts said. "I was a proud Marine. This country, regardless of the system, is still the best country," he said.
Sounds by the Sea symphony concert will be at Jones Park in Gulfport on Saturday at 7:30 p.m., with pre-concert music at 7 p.m. The concert is free .