This past Veterans Day will be one for the history books for the city of Picayune.
On Tuesday, members of the VFW Ladies Auxiliary unveiled the “Fallen Soldier Battle Cross” monument in front of City Hall.
Trish Kennedy is president of the Auxiliary and has a passion for America’s fallen soldiers.
In an earlier Item article, Kennedy said she came from a long line of Marines, which includes her husband, son-in-law and her brother who is a Vietnam veteran.
It was Kennedy’s passion for veterans and fallen soldiers that sparked the idea of a Fallen Soldier monument for the city.
“I’m so relieved that it’s here,” Kennedy said after the dedication. “The auxiliary ladies have done an awesome job. I’m so proud of the awesome turnout we had for this event.”
VFW Quarter Master Ronald Lowe officiated the ceremony.
Picayune Mayor Ed Pinero, city manager Jim Luke and Congressman Steven Palazzo were the guest speakers at the event and each gave thanks to all military personnel.
“Whether you’re active duty, discharged, retired or serving in our reserve today,” Luke said. “We honor you, we salute you and we thank you for your service. And for your sacrifice for this great country, the United States of America.”
Mayor Ed Pinero said there was no greater honor than to be able to stand and thank those who have served in the armed forces.
“I would like to thank all of the men and women who have sacrificed, whether you went to combat or not, because of your service we’re able to stand here today and do the things that we take for granted,” Pinero said.
Palazzo said it was an honor to be in Picayune for Veterans Day and urged the crowd to thank veterans and their families.
“Thank a veteran that’s in uniform, that has served,” Palazzo said. “It’s just a simple thanks. If you know of a veteran that has passed away, say a prayer and be thankful for their service and sacrifice. Thank their families because they sacrifice just as much, if not more. Fly the flag. Simply put, be proud to be an American every day.”
After the unveiling of the monument, the women of the ladies auxiliary placed red roses at the base of the monument to honor fallen soldiers.
Veteran Ralph Rowell served in the United States Coast Guard from 1942 to 1946 and said he loved the new monument.
“For me, Veterans Day signifies peace of mind,” Rowell said. “Somebody is watching my back and I appreciate all those in service.”
Larry Casteel is the chapter commander of the chapter 441 Combat Veterans on the Gulf Coast and served in the United States Navy from 1967 to 1971.
“There were not events like this during the Vietnam era,” Casteel said. “It does more for the morale of our soldiers. We weren’t thanked when we came home, now people do. It’s appreciated.”
Learn more about the battle cross at www.battlecrossgeneration.org.