Wreaths Across America Presents Holiday Salute

They took a  break from the busyness of this holiday season.

"We are gathered here today to honor our fallen comrades, personnel missing in actions, and prisoners of war," said chaplain Kenneth Stevens, to the small group gathered Thursday morning at Biloxi National Cemetery.

Recognition comes in a moment of silence, followed by a solemn salute.

"Lying here before us and in cemeteries throughout this nation are men and women who gave their lives so we can live in freedom and without fear," said Hank Rogers, commander of the Civil Air Patrol.

A single holiday wreath is offered for each branch of our nation's military.

"Representing the Air Force is Senior Master Sgt. Curtis Jennings," said the chaplain, introducing the wreath presenters.

One by one, the wreaths are respectfully arranged around the cemetery's main monument, dedicated to all who served.

"Wreaths Across America" began at Arlington National Cemetery in 1992. Its simple, straightforward message has since spread across the country: Remember and honor those who answered America's call.

"Our nation stands as a shining beacon of liberty and freedom to the world. We thank those who gave their lives to keep us free. And we shall never forget you," said Rogers.

Eleven days before Christmas, when shopping lists and party plans cloud so many minds, it is important to remember. The freedoms we enjoy, were born of someone's sacrifice.

"During this holiday season, we need to remember those who have made the sacrifice and those who are still making the sacrifice for our freedom," said cemetery director, Amanda Rhodes.