SeaBees Spruce Up Memorial In Time For Memorial Day

For the first time since Katrina, sounds of progress can be heard at the Mississippi Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Ocean Springs. From cleaning the sidewalks to polishing plaques, it's been decades since these SeaBees have fought in a war, but they say their service never ends.

"Even though we're retired, it still means a lot to us. Although we're out of the military, we're not out of the military. I can't explain it any better than that," retired SeaBee Richard Wade says.

So they're giving the memorial a much needed facelift.

"This is the first time it's had a cleaning since Katrina, it needed to really bad," Mississippi Vietnam Veterans Memorial committee member Larry Lucas says.

Lucas says the cost of repairs, like to fix these lights that were damaged by Katrina, are more than their budget can afford. They're looking for outside funding, but in the mean time, volunteer efforts like today's are crucial.

"Most of the folks volunteer their own time, their own energy, their expertise, their own money, their own supplies. When it starts getting a little beyond their own capabilities, then we have to dip into our maintenance fund," Lucas says.

Until they can find more funds, the SeaBees say they'll put in as much sweat equity as it takes.

"It's not the idea of trimming trees. I sweated 27 years in the military. Doing it today, this is nothing. This is my good time, my fun, to make sure that they're remembered," retired SeaBee Danny Duval says.

And that dedication to their fallen brothers and sisters is what's keeping this memorial alive.

Many events are planned for Memorial Day at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. There will be a Memorial Day ceremony, a 10 year dedication ceremony of the memorial site, and a live re-enactment of "life as a G.I."