This Addition to the Laurel Veterans Memorial Museum is One You Can Take Home

Walt Grayson spends his Veterans Day weekend in Laurel, MS for a look at the Veteran Museum's latest attraction.

I went to the Laurel Veterans Memorial Museum one Veterans Day Weekend for a story about one specific veteran.

The Veteran’s Memorial Museum in Laurel grew out of a morning coffee club of primarily World War Two veterans years ago who needed a place to collectively display their memorabilia.

Over time through several locations eventually, it all wound up in an excellent facility owned by the city. It’s run entirely by volunteers with contributions to keep the lights on and the doors open.

Jimmy Bass is one of the volunteers. He sums up pretty succinctly why this place is here and what he wants people to know when they leave after they see it.

“We want them to know why they’re free today. Just simple as that. And what price was paid for it,” said Bass.

At the museum you will find copies for sale of a recently published book that started decades ago when Mac Haynes urged his older WWII Veteran friend in Ellisville, Basil Red, to write down some of the things he went through in the war so his kids and grandkids would know about it.

“I never dreamed he’d write a book about it,” said Haynes.

Something else Mac Haynes didn’t realize is, nearly two decades after Mr. Red’s death, Mac would see to it that the manuscript he wrote was edited and published as a book.

“Well, I just wanted to do it in honor of Basil and his service to the country ‘cause he just represents 15 to 16 million Americans that put their lives on the line,” added Mac.

And not only for his friend, Basil Red, but for we who are every day losing more and more of that generation who served in that war so we won’t forget why they are called The Greatest Generation.

“They came through the depression, worst depression we ever had and right into WWII, the bloodiest war we’ve ever been in,” said Mac. “And then they came back and they built this country. I just don’t think we appreciate them enough.”

The book is Crew Number 8434. And it’s just one account of what could be 15 or so million accounts of why we in this country celebrate them on patriotic holiday weekends.