Hattiesburg residents form crowds at Chick-fil-A

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - If you saw a line of cars strung down Highway 98 in Hattiesburg or a line of at time 50 people standing outside the red brick building with the trademark chicken out front, you may already know that Wednesday was declared Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day nationwide by Mike Huckabee and other religious leaders, and the Pine Belt showed up in droves.

The lines of enthusiastic customers in the malls, on the Southern Miss campus and at the franchises along main thoroughfares started at breakfast and held pretty steady throughout the day spiking at lunch.

The popular fast food chain has  been in headlines lately after Dan Cathy, the chain's president, made remarks coming out against gay marriage, and donated money to anti-gay groups. Wednesday Pine Belt residents drove in some cases as many as 65 miles to get to their local franchise, buy a chicken sandwich and take a stand.

"Mr. Cathy made a statement and a lot of people were going to boycott it and they have the right to do that - that's free speech," said Terry Ward as she was standing outside the restaurant along Hattiesburg's Highway 98. "I'm here to support him today and his right to say what he said."