Pride of the Pine Belt: Laurel Veterans Museum

HATTIESBURG, MS. (WDAM) - Established fifteen years ago, the Laurel Veterans Memorial Museum was born from a group of local veterans that used to reminisce about their service over coffee socials.

One day they decided to start a museum, and a building on Hillcrest Drive in Laurel represents their many years of hard work. Jimmy Bass is a veteran and one of the museum's volunteers.

According to Bass, "Our museum covers all of our military conflicts from the Spanish American war all the way through the wars that are going on now."

The museum has been housed in it's current facility since 2005. It is run by volunteer veterans and it includes all kinds of historical artifacts. Many of them were donated by Laurel veterans.

"We have artifacts of every type almost. Guns, sabers, hand grenades. Any type of military equipment, American or our enemies we have," said Bass.

Bass explained that many of the museum's pieces are from the time period he served, which was World War II. A piece of the USS Arizona, which was downed by the Japanese during the attack on Pearl Harbor, is in the museum along with other pieces that tell the story of World War II.

"There are so many veterans that struggled through Guadalcanal and all those islands out there that just, they all need to be honored. Every man out there whether he got medals or not, if he was there he was hero to me," said Bass.

Bass said eventually the museum would like to build an addition to host memorials, concerts and other events to pay tribute to our country's veterans.

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