BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Memorial Day weekend is upon us and hundreds of people spent their Saturday morning honoring the men and women who have died in service to our country.
The volunteers gathered, placing more than 23,000 American flags on the graves of the fallen soldiers. Freedom, honor, respect -- those were the themes of the morning as the volunteers paid tribute to those buried in Biloxi National Cemetery.
"We wouldn't have the freedom if they weren't serving for us," said Izaiah Morgan.
"We want to honor these veterans and for what they did," said Lillian Eidson who is a member of American Heritage Girls.
Volunteers say the event is the reason for the season.
"It be kind of be disrespectful to treat it as a drunken holiday or a shopping spree is just entirely disrespectful," said Levi Thibodeaux.
"We're out here officially for a service project. But honestly, because they deserve it," said Kaitlyn Elmore, another member of American Heritage Girls. "Because these are veterans who have helped protect our country."
Family, friends, civilians, active duty and retired military all gave their time ahead of the Memorial Day holiday, making sure each grave was adorned with a flag.
Annette Gardener brought her children with her to place flags on her father's and brother's grave-site. She said her father served in the U.S. Navy and fought in World War II aboard the USS Virginia.
"It just warms my heart to see so many people. With so much going on in this world right now, we need stuff like this," said Gardner. "We need people to come together for a cause and it may not be a cause that you are involved in, but a cause that you become involved just through other people."
The event started at 8 a.m. and in less than an hour, 23,000 flags were placed at every grave-site. Officials plan on keeping the flags up until Memorial Day.