Many honored at Hattiesburg Veterans Day Parade

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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WJTV)- Hub City is showing a lot of love to veterans today with its annual Veterans Day Parade.

A Forrest County veteran of the year was also honored today in Hattiesburg.

12 News’ Justin Devonn reports that Bill Ray is the veteran of the year for his continued outstanding service in the Pine Belt.

Ray served in the U.S.  Marine Corps from 1954 to 1959.

Bill Ray says, “Mississippi has a lot of veterans and this is a state that we have an obligation almost to serve the country and it feels good to be associated with people who have been in the military so it’s kinda like a fraternity it’s different and it makes you proud.”

During his speech, he made it clear they serve to preserve freedom.

Ray continues, “his country is all about freedom it’s all about the right to speak I saw a young lady that was being interviewed the other day that escaped from North Korea from communism in the interviewer as yourselves asked what do you think about most is she answered it in one-word freedom.”

Mayor Toby Barker encourages people to reach out and thank everyone who served no matter the age, rank, or race.

“Just check on a veteran whether it’s someone from World War II or Korea or it’s a new millennial veteran that is coming home now we have an obligation to make sure that we are kind and looking out for them and we continue to make this country a better place to live in”, said Mayor Barker. 

Several other veterans received hand made healing quilts. 

Eddie Mcgowan of the U. S Army says, “It was a total surprise I never knew anything about me receiving this quilt it was strictly a surprise. Everybody wasn’t really saying nothing to me my son Wednesday nothing to me they were keeping a secret but it was a good day and I appreciate the people who gave me this quilt.”

Not every soldier makes it back home but times like this are used to remember their sacrifice.

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