Laurel and Hattiesburg Host Veterans Day Events

Veterans across the Pine Belt were honored on this Veterans Day.

In Hattiesburg, dozens of veterans braved the chilly and windy weather for an annual holiday service at Veterans' Memorial Park.

During the event, patriotic music was played, flags of the various armed services were posted and special poems honoring vets were read.

And a retired Air Force nurse from Hattiesburg was also named, "Veteran of the Year."

"As the flags of the various branches went by, I could remember my father, who was in the military, my husband, who was a Korean War vet, and all my brothers and my son, who is a Marine," said Raylawni Branch, recipient of the Veteran of the Year award.

"And this is just such a high honor, and I hope I can keep holding up and being a leader in the community," Branch said.

It was the 24th annual Veterans Day service in Hattiesburg.

And in Laurel, veterans were also paid tribute during a holiday ceremony at the Veterans Memorial Museum on Hillcrest Drive.

The Veterans Day service featured patriotic music and prayers for veterans of past wars and younger veterans who are serving our nation now, in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

"We owe them a debt of gratitude and love and we want to hold them in our prayers, so that nothing will happen to them and they will return back to this nation as whole individuals and be able to live a prosperous life," said Victor Lee, one of the organizers of the Laurel Veterans Day event.

By the way, the Veterans Memorial Museum is open to the public Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.