HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Governor Phil Bryant said it was a historic moment for the grand re-opening of the Camp Shelby museum Thursday, but for one family it was a moment of tears.
The newly renovated Camp Shelby museum displays exhibits from War of 1812 through the Global War on Terrorism, it also showcases one local man's experience in the navy.
Lieutenant Joe Gatewood served in the Navy for five years from 1962-1967. Gatewood passed away last week, barely missing the grand re-opening.
His son Lance Gatewood said, "His service to the country is the most thing I am proud of, these mementos were in our home growing up,"
Gatewood's wife said, "This is the first time I cried because this is so Joe, he did exactly what you see here, and enjoyed every minute of it."
"For him to be honored at the museum, especially a day after we lost him is truly touching" said Lisa Gatewood, his daughter.
She added, "He loved fighting for our country, he loved out country and to see him recognized for all his valiant efforts is just remarkable."
A few days before Lt. Gatewood's last moments, Camp Shelby officials sent him pictures of the exhibit.
Marcia said, "He was so impressed the museum was so precise." His son said if his father were here today it would be a tickling moment for him to witness.
“He would sit and chuckle at it, he wouldn’t believe that this was here, he was not the type to brag about it" said Lance.
He continued, "He would talk to you about, but he would not boast about his service at all, but he would get a kick out of it, I know he is right now looking down.”