Hundreds of family, friends, veterans and those currently serving all gathered at Fayetteville National Cemetery Monday morning to honor our nation’s fallen heroes.
The crowd joined together to sing the National Anthem and recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
There was the recognition of colors, the memorial wreath, and Fayetteville Mayor Jordan issued a proclamation on behalf of the city.
Many of the speakers were veterans and they talked about the origin of Memorial Day and the importance of honoring those who serve our country both dead and living. There were veterans from every recent war even veterans from World War II.
Barbara Pixley has been coming for nearly ten years in memory of her husband, who served in WWII is and is buried there.
“Every time I hear ‘Amazing Grace,’ I lose it,” Pixley said. “That was my husband’s favorite song.”
WWII veteran Capt. William “Gene” Hampton, 93, is a Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient. He says he’s never forgotten his comrades who didn’t survive the war.
“It hurts me almost every day,” Hampton said. “I think about them. And they were young they seemed so young.”
Capt. Hampton served in the South Pacific and says there were times when he almost didn’t make it home.
“It’s just because God has spared my life,” he said. “And I love America. There’s no country in the world like America.”
Those who share the bond of service say it was good to gather beneath the flag.
“We serve together and we have a special comradeship those that were in danger together,” said retired Lt. Capt. Jack King. “Who cared enough about freedom, and it’ extremely important.
The keynote speaker was Rear Admiral Mike Johnson. He left with a challenge: to stay true to the meaning of Memorial Day and to never let the sacrifice of brave be forgotten.
He urged the crowed to honor military members in their own way, not just on Memorial Day but every day.
Ceremonies at the Fort Smith National Cemetery were held Sunday, but that cemetery is open Monday for visitors who still wish to go by and pay their respects.