A patriotic celebration took place the day before Independence Day in Williamson County.
Local and state officials turned out Wednesday for a sign unveiling and ceremony designating Veterans Memorial Overpass on Route 13 at Wolf Creek Road in Crainville.
State Representative Dave Severin got the crowd in the patriotic mood.
"GIVE ME A U! GIVE ME AN S! GIVE ME AN A! WHAT'S THE GREATEST COUNTRY ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH? USA! I CAN'T HEAR YOU! USA! ALRIGHT!"
The Benton republican got the ball rolling for the ceremony after he found out the paperwork was just sitting on a desk in Springfield. He said the timing worked out perfectly.
"We would've liked to have had this done a whole lot sooner, but what better day than to have this on July 3rd, the day before the 4th of July, and to have all of you here, it might've been a rainy day or been in the middle of winter."
Severin said he tries to be a strong advocate for veterans in the Illinois General Assembly.
Another southern Illinois lawmaker who said he tries to fight for veterans in Senator Dale Fowler of Harrisburg. He told the crowd gathered on the overpass holding the ceremony the day before Independence Day is appropriate, but we need to respect our veterans all the time.
"We have a Memorial Day and our Veteran's Day, but each and every day we need to do everything we can to support our veterans."
Veteran Ray Tholen said southern Illinoisans appreciate those who served their country.
"We're on the Honor Guard. We do funerals and everything like that. It's unbelievable how grateful the people are to have their deceased person honored, such as a firing squad."
Tholen said the overpass and the nearby Veterans Airport of Southern Illinois are good examples of the area's support for vets.