Hancock County celebrated its military heroes over the past few days with multiple Veterans Day ceremonies, including parades in Diamondhead and -- for the first time in more than a decade -- Waveland.
VFW Post 2880 has hosted the Diamondhead Veterans Day parade since 2015, with veterans riding along in golf carts, motorcycles and military vehicles. Saturday's parade, chaired by Pat Laird, ended with closing ceremonies at Diamondhead City Hall and a cake sale to raise money for the VFW's programs.
Waveland's Veterans Day parade down Coleman Avenue, organized by Kristen B. Tusa, began with a reception Sunday at the Waveland Library and ended with a brief ceremony at the Veterans Memorial at Coleman and Beach Boulevard.
"I think the event went particularly well for it really being the first time in several years that a Veterans Day parade has taken place in our area," Tusa said.
"We had 25 veterans signed up going into the weekend, but by Sunday morning, we had almost 40 veterans participate. What seemed to have the most impact on the men and women who were in attendance was the opportunity to talk to and connect with other veterans.
"Some have faced challenges and I noticed connections being made and phone numbers being exchanged. For some of these men and women to know that they are not alone can be very beneficial, but also to know that they are important to us and that they matter, is equally as beneficial."
During the ceremony, Lauren-Anne Lagasse and Ryan McClellan served as emcees; "Miss Poppy" Jailyn Matheny led the Pledge of Allegiance; Marsha Christmas sang "The Start Spangled Banner" and "America" and Wallace St. Paul performed "Taps" on trumpet; and Ruth Ellen Burke and Abby Zinc delivered a memorial wreath for the veterans.
"We definitely plan on doing this again next year," Tusa said. "I am especially grateful to all the school groups and Girl and Boy Scouts who participated. They truly made the day special for these veterans."