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Purple Heart recipient serves as keynote speaker for annual POW/MIA ceremony

Today at City Hall in Meridian, Sergeant Antonio Marquez had the honor to be this year’s keynote speaker for the POW/ MIA Ceremony.

The Ceremony honors wounded and missing soldiers, and according to the Marquez he couldn’t have been any happier to speak in front of everybody in attendance including the troops, family members, and especially the veterans.

“Knowing that we can come together for an event, I think that’s a great showing, it doesn’t matter if you’re Navy Seal, or a coast guard, air force, we’re all a part of one team, we have one goal, one mission and that’s to protect our freedom and liberties as Americans.”

Marquez says he remembers his calling to the Marine Corps just as if it was yesterday.

"First, I did go to college for almost a year, I went through one semester and then I was just tired of learning, I was just tired of going to school, and so I said today I’m going to join the Marine Corps, the funny thing about that,the thing about the Marine Corp is you never stop learning, you never stop getting tested, so I was like man, maybe I should of stayed in college, but looking back on it I wouldn’t trade it.”

Marquez is a Purple Heart recipient and says when called to duty, you never know what the outcome will be. He says once he was injured in combat and he didn’t recognize his injuries until later.

“I was carrying my rifle in my left hand, and I got hit in my right arm, and it just felt like someone hit my hand with a hammer, so I was like you know that hurts, and then I get inside, and I see everyone injured, and we had a couple of other riflemen come in.”

Marquez has a message for anyone interested in joining the military

“Keep your honor clean, keep your eye in the mission, stay focused on your job and you’re going to have a great time in the service.”

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