Final Resting Place For Patriots - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Final Resting Place For Patriots

It is hallowed ground for thousands of patriots who fought to defend freedom. The markers in Biloxi National Cemetery trace America's military history.

Thousands of burial stones stand as a testament to the men and women who gave their lives for their country.

Rows of silent stones stand beneath and between majestic oak trees. Just north of busy Pass Road, visitors find a solemn sanctuary.

"A lot of people don't even realize we're here. They realize there's a medical center here, but they don't realize there's actually a national cemetery here," said Amanda Rhodes, who's been cemetery director for the past five years.

The cemetery was established in 1934, two years after the Biloxi VA Hospital was built. More than 15,000 grave sites line the 54 acres.

"A lot of people come and they think, 'Wow, this is a beautiful place.' And it truly is a beautiful place," said Rhodes.

There's a story behind each stone. Inscriptions offer merely a glimpse into the lives they represent.

"Some of them are very special terms of endearment. Loving husband. American patriot. Those type of things, you walk through and see those things. And you know their families loved them. And they did give all," she said.

The day before America celebrates her independence, another World War II soul is laid to rest in Biloxi National Cemetery. It's a tribute to still another patriot; one of some 800 services that will take place here this year.

"You talk to people all the time about patriotism. What is patriotism? You know, it's not only those that gave, it's the ones that are still giving," Rhodes said.

Many who gave will one day earn a spot in this special place, alongside brothers and sisters who shared the sacrifice. Gone yes, but hopefully never forgotten.

Technology helps visitors locate grave sites at Biloxi National Cemetery. There's a touch screen near the office that allows visitors to type in a person's name and receive a printed map with the grave location.

By Steve Phillips

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