Hundreds gathered along Hardy Street in downtown Hattiesburg to take in the sights and sounds of the Veterans Day Parade and the 33rd annual Veterans Day Service.
Kids from local schools could be heard screaming “USA, USA, USA” over the sounds of the heavy military equipment rolling along.
“It’s just an honor, we have given so much for our country and for these people to come out and give recognition back to us," retired Cpl. Jeffery Broome said. "It just means a lot to us and all, to come out here and see all these kids and people of all ages line the streets and kids chanting 'USA,' it’s just a great feeling.”
Broome noted that his time served he would not trade for anything, but that being deployed was no easy task.
“Being deployed is an awful feeling, you are away from your family, you are away from the things that you know, all of the luxuries and things you are used to in life turns to eating military food and missing everyone,” Broome said.
Servicemen who served in all branches saluted their respected flag as they were carried down the lawn at Veterans Memorial Park during the ceremony.
CSM (R) Marion Walley was touted by Chairman of the Hattiesburg Veterans’ Committee Ted Tibbett, in regards to his service and how he served his country and community. Walley was named the 2015 Veteran of the Year.
“It’s a great pleasure, personally I don’t think I deserved it, there are more deserving people out there than what I am, but I am thankful for the committee for selecting me,” Walley said.
Walley was presented an American flag and addressed the crowd with a few remarks.
“It’s a blessing in disguise to see all these people turn out and since we have started the parade it’s just grown bigger and bigger, hopefully we can continue this and it will be even more of a standout in South Mississippi,” Walley said.
The ceremony was closed out with singing from the Petal Elementary fourth grade choir, and in closing, Tibbett encouraged everyone to hug, cry and honor a veteran.