Military remembered this Independence Day - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Military remembered this Independence Day

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Independence Day is made possible by brave men and women who defend our country every day. The stars and stripes get respect from thousands who pass the guy who's come to be known as the "flag man".

"The three patriotic holidays: Memorial day, Fourth of July and Veteran's Day that I'm out here," explained Don Hartness.

Hartness started waving the American flag at the intersection of Highway 25 and Castlewoods Boulevard in 2009. His wife takes up donations for local wounded warriors. The set-up is simple. The message is meaningful.

"This is just a reminder, especially during the 4th of July, Memorial Day and Veteran's Day that there are still those that are out there fighting," said Hartness. "This is my small way of supporting those guys and gals out there fighting overseas."

Those Mississippians, like Marine Corporal Todd Olmsted, who are far from home this holiday, are sending greetings back.

"Just want to wish my wife Danielle and my parents and my family a happy fourth of July," said Cpl. Olmsted in a Marine video. "I love and miss you guys. And I can't wait to be home."

His younger brother Andy wishes he could see him to give him this message.

"Thank him for everything he's done," he said. "Not just for me but for everyone around him, for our country."

Andy grew up knowing about the price for freedom. For his brother, he's a 5th generation Marine on his mom's side and 3rd generation on his dad's side.

"When you have family in the military, you're going to miss a lot and you're going to respect it more for what they've done for you and how they've affected the world," Andy said.

The Olmsted family will carry on with the typical July 4th celebrations. Meanwhile, Todd is at sea with 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit.

"I know we miss him a lot and he's serving the country for us and our freedom to let us do what we do today," Olmsted described.

Cpl. Olmsted was able to come back to his hometown of Brandon last Thanksgiving. He has been serving in the Marine Corps for four years.

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