On Memorial Day, sometimes the most important decision we make is whether to barbecue with friends or relax at home.
But Retired U.S. Air National Guard Master Sergeant Lee Perry asks us to consider the quick decisions that military men and women in the thick of war are forced to make every day.
"You have to decide you want to live. And once you decide you want to live, you will do anything you have to do to live," he says.
The veterans gathered in front of the Hinds County Court House Monday morning hope we will all consider what the holiday is really about: giving thanks to those who never came home from war.
"What this means now as an adult who has served in the military, it's all about memorializing those who have given that last measure of devotion, and a lot of them gave their lives to defend their fellow soldiers," says James Wiley, who served in Vietnam.
"Regardless of whether a person gave up their life or family time, that is a huge sacrifice in order that we wear what we call the blanket of freedom that we enjoy every day," says Retired Mississippi Air National Guard Major Marshand Crisler.
Hinds County Supervisors joined Jackson Mayor Tony Yarber and citizens who feel a deep sense of patriotism on Memorial Day. They prayed for prisoners of war, and those who are missing in action. They also listened to soldiers' stories, recognizing their bravery and perseverance.
"I think it's sometimes gratifying to have someone walk up and say thank you for your service. But I feel differently. I'd like to thank my God, my country, and my family for allowing me to serve this great nation of ours," says Retired Colonel Hugh Long.