Paying Tribute to Those Who Won Our Freedom
Posted May 23, 1998
RALEIGH — Memorial Day Weekend is the unofficial start of summer. Although it is used by many as a holiday -- a time to visit family and friends or to take a short vacation, Memorial Day's focus is intended to honor the dedication and sacrifice so many men and women displayed to win, and then to preserve, our freedoms.
The scene played out at Raleigh's National Cemetery was similar to ceremonies the nation over. Hundreds of veterans and their families showed up at today's ceremony.
The first official Memorial Day was in 1868 and now, 130 years later, thousands of people still set aside this time of year to pay tribute to those who paid the ultimate price.
They came to honor and to remember, but most of all they came to say thanks.
"We know that those who have paid the supreme price are those that we remember in a very special way," said veteran Millie Dunn Veasey.
Families were on hand, to ensure a younger generation would never forget. Nancy Underwood and her 9-year-old son Michael were among those who attended the ceremony. She said she wanted her son to know more about patriotism and people's sacrifice since she said it is not taught in schools as much as it once was.
Son Michael acknowledged that it was scary at to think you might die, but "you know you're going to serve your country."
More than 7,000 veterans are buried at the Raleigh National Cemetery and American Legion Post 1 has been holding this ceremony for 66 years.
But as one person said, we should honor them every day.