Salute Our Soldiers


HATTIESBURG, MISS. – Thursday morning, the Pine Belt community showed their respect to the soldiers of the Camp Shelby Army Base by standing together, waving flags, and cheering to the top of their lungs, at the intersection of Hardy Street and Highway 49. The sound of police sirens moved traffic aside as they escorted two busloads of army soldiers down Highway 49. As a sign of respect, residents cheered these soldier on as they left the Pine Belt to attend training in Fort Bliss, Texas before ultimately being deployed to the Middle East. “I’m here supporting the troops,” Pine Belt resident, Shirley Miller said. “I have two grandchildren that are serving now. They're not in this group, but they're serving.” The Mayor of Hattiesburg, Toby Barker explained exactly why he thought it was special for the city to honor this group of soldiers. “Well, Hattiesburg is a military community,” Barker said. “Camp Shelby has been a part of the fabric of this city for over one-hundred years, and so a lot of these folks become our friends and family. So, to see the city come out and support people they know and love, it tells a lot about Hattiesburg.” Other soldiers of the armed forces watched on, as they saw their comrades departing from the Hub-City. “They're going to get a small taste of what they are going to be deploying to, so that's going to help them,” member of the U.S. Army and Camp Shelby, Matthew Hughes said. “They're going to identify some of their weaknesses and deficiencies, and they are going to go from there to be more prepared for when they deploy.” Retired veterans, also watched as the escort passed by saying they remember how it feels deployed, just as if it happened yesterday. “One anxiety, the unknown. They approximately know where they are going. They know approximately what they're mission is going to be, but they are not on the ground yet,” retired veteran, George Herrington said. “They don't know exactly what's the environment they will be working in.” Despite the unknown, this community wants only one for everyone serving in the United States military. “Just be careful and come back home,” retired veteran, B.J. Lott said. “We want all of them to return safely.”

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