HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WHLT) – The City of Hattiesburg held a ceremony and parade to celebrate Veterans Day on Friday, November 11.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, World War I officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”

An Act approved in 1938 made November 11 a legal holiday each year. The day was dedicated to the cause of world peace and was known as “Armistice Day.” The 83rd Congress amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting in its place the word “Veterans.”

Each year, the City of Hattiesburg names a new Veteran of the Year. On November 4, the city announced Sgt. 1st Class Nelson Haskin Jr. as the 2022 Hattiesburg Veteran of the Year.

Nelson Haskin Jr., (Courtesy: City of Hattiesburg)

Nelson served in the Army National Guard, part-time, from 1995 until 2001 and in the Army National Guard Active Reserve from 2008 until 2020. He was honorably discharged after 20 years of service. As Gulfport native and graduate of The University of Southern Mississippi (USM), he’s lived in Hattiesburg with his family for nearly 40 years.

Today, he owns and operates Front Street Eats Restaurant Group, comprised of Hattiesburgers and Blues, Blu Jazz Cafe, Nellie’s Chicken and Daquiris, Nellie’s Food Truck and Southbound Bagel. He continues to work on behalf of veterans by serving through the Disabled American Veterans Chapter #62.

Veterans, their families and neighbors gathered to celebrate and honor all veterans on Friday, November 11 in Downtown Hattiesburg.

Beginning on Thursday, November 10, the USM Air Force ROTC began a 24-hour watch over Veterans Memorial Park. They later read all 173 names listed on the pillars.

On Veterans Day, the city held a 24-hour vigil, a parade and a ceremony to honor those who have served.