By Ashley Conroy - email
JACKSON, MS (WLBT) -- To honor Veterans in Mississippi, the G. V. Sonny Montgomery V. A. Medical Center held a flag raising ceremony outside of their facility on Friday.
Officials said the goal is to improve the overall appearance of the medical center and create a vantage point when people drive down Woodrow Wilson.
"This is our way of showing them how much we value their sacrifices," said Director Linda Watson.
To assist in the ceremony, the facility called in Mississippi National Guardsmen to be the first to raise one of the flags.
Guardsmen Jeremiah Jamison says he is honored to have participated in this event.
"It's great to see these flags flying out here, especially as large as these are" said Jamison.
As the flags hoisted 50 feet into the sky Air Force Veteran James Smith watched and paid a simple salute to the freedom that it represents.
"There's a great number of people that depend on this VA Center," Smith said. "And it's nice to see something like this to remind us of the veterans that have come before us."
Shirley Hildesheim was one of proud patrons attending the flag raising ceremony. "My father was a World War II veteran and he passed away in '99," Hildesheim said. "And he loved that flag just like the rest of us."
Her husband, Richard Hildesheim served in the army for 7 years and was sent off to Vietnam. When her husband became sick years later, they took him to the VA Center in Jackson for help.
"They've kept him alive now for over 3 years. He's terminal. So that we can spend time together. And I'm so thankful for every minute they've given us."
For the service of her father, the service of her husband, and now the service the medical center has given back, Hildesheim says the symbol of the flag means everything.
"There are so many veterans that have given their life for that flag, and I would give mine proudly."
The VA Center serves around 45 thousand veterans and servicemen at the facility in Jackson. They also serve around 200 thousand at their six different facilities around the state.
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