HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The Veterans Memorial Park held its annual Memorial Day service Monday morning.
The Department of Defense declared 2016 as the 50th anniversary for the Vietnam War, and the memorial did a special service for the people who died in Vietnam.
At the service, the sound of the bag pipes filled the air and comforted the hearts of families who lost loved ones on the battlefield.
This day especially meant a lot to Kay Blount, who lost her son five years ago.
"This is a hard day, but it's a much-needed day," Blount said.
Blount's son, Anthony, died in Iraq, and she said memorials like this one remind her of the sacrifices he has made for the country.
"I feel like he's shining down and smiling and knowing that he's being honored," Blount said.
The memorial remembered Anthony and the 172 other names of military members from Hattiesburg who died in the line of duty.
Chairman of the Hattiesburg Veterans Committee Ted Tibbett said it is important to remember these people.
"If we ever forget their sacrifices, we forget the reasons they do serve in this military and that's for the freedom of this country," Tibbett said.
Tibbett said the service paid a special tribute to 21 soldiers who died in the Vietnam war to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the troops buildup in 1966.
All 21 names were read out loud, and a little bit of history was shared about each person.
"They never got that pat on the back, that handshake that they deserved and in honor of the 21 that gave their lives and the hundreds and thousands that came back and are still alive today, we honor them on this Memorial Day," Tibbett said.
This anniversary hits close to home for Vietnam veteran and taps player Howell Pruvis.
He has played the trumpet for 65 years and said the song means a lot to him.
"I always get a lump in my throat because it's meaningful and it's probably the most haunting sad memory that's ever been written," Purvis said.
As Howell played the last note on his horn, a hush fell over the crowd to reflect and remember military members who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.