Coast Memorial Day ceremonies honor ultimate sacrifices

Updated: May. 31, 2021 at 3:41 PM CDT
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - In Gulfport, it was a chance to reflect and remember those who gave their lives to protect and defend freedom.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2539 held its Memorial Day ceremony, complete with all the military honors to salute those past and present who have answered the call to serve and paid the ultimate sacrifice during that time in uniform.

“They rose to the nation’s call because they wanted to protect a nation that’s given them so much. Millions of Americans have fought on battlefields here and abroad to defend our freedoms and our way of life,” said Charles Purchner, Jr., past state VFW commander.

The Patriot Guard Riders were also on hand for the event while members of VFW Post 6731 presented the colors and also executed the 21-gun salute. Retired U.S. Navy Cmdr. James Clark served as the event’s guest speaker.

“I think that’s great that we could share these moments together and honor our veterans, especially those who have given the ultimate. I was one of the fortunate ones that came back alive just like a lot of you, but I think the cost of freedom is something that needs to be recognized,” Clark said.

A small but powerful ceremony to remember 70 Mississippians was also held Monday at the Biloxi National Cemetery.

The names of those 70 were read one by one. All of them died in service since 2001. Members from different military branches read off the names to those in attendance. This year’s event at the cemetery was much smaller than in past years. A ceremonial wreath was also dedicated to all being remembered this Memorial Day.

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