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Memorial Day tradition again held to honor veterans

Memorial Day may be the unofficial start to summer, but the true meaning of the day lies beneath the ground of area cemeteries and those cemeteries around the world.

In a service Monday at Cedar Hill Cemetery in downtown Suffolk more than 100 turned out to honor the fallen soldiers, Marines and sailors of our nation’s wars. Floral wreaths were placed on the markers honoring the veterans of Korea, Vietnam, World War I, World War II, Spanish American War as well as both the Civil and Revolutionary War.

“Freedom only comes with great sacrifice,” Pastor Steve Hill said during the invocation of the ceremony hosted by American Legion Post 57. “Today, we honor the fallen for defending our freedom.”

According to Post officials, the Memorial Day ceremony hosted at Cedar Hill has been held every year since the post’s inception in 1919.

“This is a day of remembrance,” Post Commander C.W. Glover Jr. said. “These men and women not only gave their lives to their country but they also gave their hopes and their dreams, as well.”

U.S. Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA-04th), the event’s guest speaker, said the day brings more than an opportunity to head for the beach or to grill out with friends and family.

“For these men and women, the war never ends. They never got a day to be welcomed back home,” Forbes said. “Today we pledge two things to them. The first is that we will never forget your life, your service or your sacrifice. The second, is that we pledge to you will pass along the torch of freedom to your children and your grandchildren.”

Many of the veterans attending Monday’s event saw action in World War II, Korea and Vietnam, a point not lost on Glover.

“This day means a lot to them,” Glover said of the older veterans in attendance. “This post has been going on for a long time, and these guys wouldn’t miss it.”