Neshoba County turns out to celebrate Veterans
Buddy Bozeman was drafted into the Army when he was 20 years old and sent to Vietnam.
He was among those attending the Veterans Day observance here on Friday where Rep. Scott Bounds spoke of his family’s military legacy and thanked all veterans.
Bozeman’s quiet humility accentuated the lasting impact of his military service.
“Some days it seems like it was yesterday,” said Bozeman, now 73.
He was sent to Fort Polk, La., for basic training, then to Fort Lewis, Wash., for Advanced Individual Training for eight months before he was sent on to Vietnam for a year.
“I’m proud to serve my country and appreciate everybody who serves now,” he said. “I thought the event today was wonderful and they did a real good job. They always have a wonderful program here and we enjoy coming every year.”
He was accompanied by his wife Hazel.
The annual Veterans Day program continues to emphasize the importance of recognizing and appreciating the sacrifices made by veterans from every generation.
Friday’s Veterans Day program was moved to the Ellis Theater due to inclement weather, but despite the rain, the Ellis became a stage for gratitude and reflection.
Guest speaker Bounds said he was honored to work with Mr. Ray Crocker and thanked him for spearheading the Fallen Veterans Monument project at Dewitt-DeWeese Park.
Although not a veteran himself, Bounds grew up in a military family, deeply influenced by the stories of an uncle who noted he was proud of the opportunity to speak at the event.
“I can’t convey any stories of military service, but as a youngster growing up, I remember going to my grandmother’s house in the Bloomo community and seeing pictures of an American hero and veteran who paid the ultimate sacrifice. It was her son and my uncle Carson Bounds.”
As a young second lieutenant in the United States Army Air Corps, Carson Bounds was stationed in Tunisia, North Africa. On January 30, 1943, he was returning back to base in his Curtiss-Wright P-40 after escorting P-39’s on a mission and was shot down behind enemy lines.
“The story was always told to me by my grandmother that a fellow pilot saw his plane go down but not crash. The brave airman decided to sacrifice his own life and safety to return back and make a pass over the crash site to check for activity,” Bounds said. “The account told to her by the U.S. Department of the Army was that the pilot saw my uncle climb out of the plane, behind hostile enemy lines only to never be seen again by his friends, family, or his soldier colleagues.”
The marker in the United States cemetery in Tunisia now stands as a testament to his sacrifice at the young age of 22 and VFW Post 4396 in Philadelphia is known as the Carson Bounds Post in his memory.
“I’m proud of the service he, my dad, his two other brothers, and the Bounds family provided the U.S. Armed Forces through the years,” he said. “Every generation from the Revolutionary period to this very hour, brave Americans have stepped forward and served honorably. Every one of them deserves thanks and admiration from our entire country.”
Bounds directed the audience to stand and give the Veterans in attendance a round of applause and thank them for their service.
Philadelphia Fire Department Chief Deric Horne said that the tornado warning sirens did not sound as they traditionally have during the Veterans Day observance due to the threat of bad weather and to avoid any confusion.
On Thursday, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians held a parade and ceremony at the Choctaw Veterans Memorial.