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MAYHEW, Miss. (WCBI) – Veteran’s Day is this Sunday, but East Mississippi Community College honored local veterans on Wednesday.

The Presentation of Colors by MSU Army ROTC cadets set the tone for the celebration of military veterans. Many veterans were on hand for the ceremony that included a performance by the EMCC concert choir and a video highlighting the American Soldier.

Retired Lieutenant Colonel Gene Smith was the keynote speaker and says he wants to reiterate how important our service men and women are.

“To bring to the American people what the American military does for our country. That our freedoms are provided us because of our soldiers because of the commitment they have to serve this country,” says Smith.

Veteran Del Faulkner says he got goose bumps during the ceremony.

“I served the U.S. Coast Guard from 1975-1979 and I’m very proud of that. My father was in the Army for 22 1/2 years so I was raised a lot in Europe and Germany. I think everybody should get a chance to serve the military I think,” says Faulkner.

Thomas Howell from the 223rd Battalion returned home a month ago but hasn’t gotten used to being called a veteran.

“When I hear the term veteran I think of the older generation. I haven’t quite put myself in that category but you know, even for me, to come out and show my respects for these other gentleman that have paid their dues long before me. So it’s great to see them getting involved and do things like this,” says Howell.

EMCC honors veterans each year for Veteran’s Day. This year’s theme was “Proud to be an American”.

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