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PONTOTOC, MISS. ( WCBI) – Cloudy and rainy weather may have cancelled a planned parade, but veterans organized their own processional in the Pontotoc County Ag Center.

The annual program recognized veterans of all foreign wars,  active duty military and those who gave their lives for their country

Guest of honor at this celebration was Pontotoc native James Smith.  He is a World War II veteran who served aboard the USS Indianapolis.   That Navy ship delivered key components for the construction of the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima and helped end the war.   After delivering its top secret cargo, a Japanese sub torpedoed the USS Indianapolis. It sank in the south pacific.  Out of 1,200 men on board, 316 survived.  Smith was one of them.

What does this mean to you today?” It means everything to me, I really don’t know how to say it, but it makes me happy, in other words to be here back in my hometown,” Smith said.

Students in Pontotoc County and city schools performed patriotic music.  Organizers say they are encouraged that the entire community , especially young people, make it a priority to honor veterans.

“Patriotism is not an innate knowledge.  It has to be grown and fostered and I’m very proud that our schools in Pontotoc do an excellent job of fostering patriotism in our young people,” said U.S. Army Veteran Keith Nance.

After the ceremony, the local VFW hosted a luncheon.


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