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Community members gather at Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia to honor veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice

Community gathers at historic Laurel Hills Cemetery in Philadelphia for Memorial Day
Community gathers at historic Laurel Hills Cemetery in Philadelphia for Memorial Day 02:11

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It was a moment to reflect, remember and pay tribute to those who died while serving.

On Sunday, Laurel Hill Cemetery hosted a Memorial Day ceremony to honor those who died serving the United States.

The cemetery was the first site in Philadelphia to celebrate the holiday in 1868, when it was known as "Decoration Day."

The tradition continued on Sunday as community members gathered to pay tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice. 

Joseph Broderick, who served in the military, said ceremonies like these are important for us all to remember the impact fallen service members have had on the lives of all Americans.

"You can't forget them. They gave the ultimate sacrifice. What more can you ask for?" he said. "This is probably the best part of Memorial Day weekend for me."

At Laurel Hill Cemetery, more than 2,000 known veterans are buried, and more than 90 are buried in unmarked graves. 

Every year the cemetery makes it a priority to mark at least two of the graves in an effort to recognize their service to the country.

More unmarked graves are discovered at the cemetery every year, Laurel Hill tour guide Russell Dodge said.

Dodge dedicates his time to making sure fallen veterans are not forgotten.

"It's up to us to keep their memory alive," he said. "They gave their lives so we can do what we do, to live our lives, and it behooves us to honor them." 

And it's his hope that those who paid the ultimate price are celebrated not just one day a year but every day.

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