Watch CBS News

Gold Star parents and veterans gather in Camden to remember soldiers' sacrifices for Memorial Day

Gold Star families, veterans gather at historic cemetery in Camden, New Jersey, for Memorial Day
Gold Star families, veterans gather at historic cemetery in Camden, New Jersey, for Memorial Day 03:28

CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) — In a solemn tribute to the sacrifices made by American servicemen and women, Gold Star parents and veterans gathered at the historic Dempsey Daniel Butler Cemetery in Camden this Memorial Day, despite the rainy weather. 

Among them was Jacquelyn Dixon, a mother who lost her son, Army Specialist Anthony Dixon, on Aug. 1, 2004, during his service in Iraq.

Jacquelyn Dixon, reflecting on her son's decision to enlist after the Sept. 11 attacks, emphasized the heavy price of freedom. 

"We want the nation to always remember that freedom is not free," she said. "Our children gave their lives so that freedom will continue. And they wanted to do what they did. They did it with honor."

The ceremony took place in a cemetery named after Dempsey Daniel Butler, a Black resident of Camden who founded the private graveyard in 1867 specifically for African American soldiers who fought in the Civil War. 

"They didn't have proper burials. They didn't have gravestones. Sometimes they didn't have ceremonies for them because they were colored troops," Chaplain Floyd White, a U.S. Air Force and Army veteran, said. "And the fact that I stand here today as a lieutenant colonel is because I stand on the soldiers of those who gave their lives."

The gathering was a poignant reminder of the more than 646,000 American troops who have died in battle since the end of the Revolutionary War. As the Star-Spangled Banner rippled in the sky above, a symbol of the cherished freedom bought at such a high cost, the attendees lifted their voices in a spirit of patriotism, singing the Battle Hymn of the Republic (Glory Hallelujah) honoring the legacy and sacrifices of all who have served.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.