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Honoring their sacrifice

A butterfly sits on a branch during the Butterfly Release Ceremony honoring Keesler's Fallen Heroes at the Marina at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, Sept. 25, 2020. The event was held in conclusion of Gold Star Family Remembrance Week, which honored the families of fallen service members. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)

A butterfly sits on a branch during the Butterfly Release Ceremony honoring Keesler's Fallen Heroes at the Marina at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, Sept. 25, 2020. The event was held in conclusion of Gold Star Family Remembrance Week, which honored the families of fallen service members. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)

Mike Bradford releases a butterfly in memory of his son, U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Brian Bradford, during the Butterfly Release Ceremony honoring Keesler's Fallen Heroes at the Marina at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, Sept. 25, 2020. Bradford was killed while deployed Dec. 6, 2018. The event was held in conclusion of Gold Star Family Remembrance Week, which honored the families of fallen service members. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)

Mike Bradford releases a butterfly in memory of his son, U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Brian Bradford, during the Butterfly Release Ceremony honoring Keesler's Fallen Heroes at the Marina at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, Sept. 25, 2020. Bradford was killed while deployed Dec. 6, 2018. The event was held in conclusion of Gold Star Family Remembrance Week, which honored the families of fallen service members. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)

Mike Bradford releases a butterfly in memory of his son, U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Brian Bradford, during the Butterfly Release Ceremony honoring Keesler's Fallen Heroes at the Marina at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, Sept. 25, 2020. Bradford was killed while deployed Dec. 6, 2018. The event was held in conclusion of Gold Star Family Remembrance Week, which honored the families of fallen service members. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)

Mike Bradford releases a butterfly in memory of his son, U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Brian Bradford, during the Butterfly Release Ceremony honoring Keesler's Fallen Heroes at the Marina at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, Sept. 25, 2020. Bradford was killed while deployed Dec. 6, 2018. The event was held in conclusion of Gold Star Family Remembrance Week, which honored the families of fallen service members. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --

The Air Force Families Forever program organized events around base Sept. 14-18 to celebrate Gold Star Families Remembrance Week.

There was a sky lantern lighting on Biloxi Beach, signs and biographies of fallen heroes were displayed along Meadows Drive and the week culminated with a butterfly release in the butterfly garden at Marina Park.

“Each year, the AFFF program continues to expand our events,” said Holly Fisher, 81st Force Support Squadron AFFF program coordinator. “Not only as a tribute to our fallen service members and their families, but it also offers opportunities to educate the populace on the sacrifices our fallen heroes made. Additionally, it is an opportunity to reach other family members who may not realize support services are offered to the families of our fallen.”

During the sky lantern lighting, the lanterns were imprinted with the following verbiage, “You are loved, you are missed, you are remembered.” which were released following a short ceremony.

“It is our duty and responsibility to ensure their loved one is not forgotten,” said Fisher. “The sky lantern lighting and the butterfly release ceremonies were a special tribute to not only honor our fallen heroes and their families, but demonstrate a token of our gratitude as well.”

Several AFFF families were able to attend the different events that occurred throughout the week.

“The families who were able to attend the events were very grateful for the tribute honoring their loved one,” said Fisher. “Several family members shared with me how deeply touched they were to have their loved one recognized for their sacrifice and to know they are not forgotten.”

Keesler strives to ensure the AFFF members here, continue to maintain military connectedness and never forget how much their loved one’s sacrifice is valued.

“It is a privilege to be an American, and the freedoms we often take for granted have not come without cost,” said Fisher. “Gathering the families together to honor our fallen service members show our gratitude and indebtedness to them for the liberties we have gained. By offering events throughout Gold Star Families Remembrance Week, I hope it demonstrates to the families just how much we truly appreciate their sacrifice.”