Rankin County veterans lay wreaths at memorial honoring fallen s - WLBT.com - Jackson, MS

Rankin County veterans lay wreaths at memorial honoring fallen soldiers

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BRANDON, MS (WLBT) -

In Rankin County Monday, veterans laid wreaths at a memorial honoring fallen soldiers from the area.

The soldiers' names were inscribed on a monument under the war where they sacrificed their lives.

Most holidays are cheerful. We say "Happy Thanksgiving" and Happy Fourth of July". But the veterans at Rankin County's service Monday say Memorial Day today isn't a happy occasion. 

"This is a time of remembrance - a time of being thankful that we're here," said Chuck Odom, the President of Mississippi's Vietnam Veterans for America.

Odom says when he first got back from the war, people outwardly disrespected him. Some would spit at him or throw food. He says it's only been a few years since people started honoring those who fought in Vietnam. 

 "It's not on a personal level that I appreciate it. It's the level that what we did didn't go in vain," explained Odom, discussing how things have changed over the years.

This Memorial Day, Rankin County honored soldiers - living and passed - from every war.

"Over 2,700 died in just a few minutes of Pearl Harbor. Over 4,500 have died in Iraq and Afghanistan, fighting terrorists. And in World War II alone, 44 months of World War II, an average of 9,000 young Americans per month gave their lives on the battlefield, for us," said General Harold Cross, who gave the opening remarks at the ceremony.

Speakers at the ceremony took the time to remind us that everything we have, our veterans fought and died for. 

Written on the memorial in Brandon are the words: "Freedom is not free."

"This is a great monument to them, but just society itself - schools, churches, all the things with government, all the things we do - is the real monument to these folks and what they provided for us," said Rankin County Judge Kent McDaniel.

"They are recognized, and will continue to be recognized, not only by the general public, but those of us in our hearts. And we will remember them," added Odom.

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