SACRAMENTO — Memorial Day is a solemn reminder of those who gave all to protect our freedom, and ceremonies across the region took place to remember them.
The sun rose over Mount Vernon Memorial Park in Fair Oaks. There was a sea of flags set by scouts and their leaders. They work together as a team to honor those who came before them to protect our country.
Scout leader Nancy Wilkerson said it's important "for them to realize what people did before they were born to serve our country, and to know how to respect them and show that respect, and to realize what they gave up for us."
Brigadier General Jeff Smiley with the National Guard summed up their service to the country.
"This country is entirely an idea, and Memorial Day is about that, about those people who gave us their lives for that idea," he said.
Smiley was one of many on hand at the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium for a flag ceremony and honor guard presentation.
"My unit in Vietnam lost 712 soldiers over five years," Steve Spriggs said.
Spriggs was a radio operator in Vietnam who is active in veterans organizations.
"Most of my family has served in the military, going back to great grandfathers," he said. "It means a lot to me."
Spriggs toured the memorial hall housing tablets with the names of those who died and listened to the patriotic music playing inside.
The service struck a chord with Lance Izumi, the civilian aide for the secretary of the Army.
"I think that's one of the great things about Memorial Day — we not only honor the people who sacrificed but also, too, it brings people together," he said.
Izumi was happy to see families and, specifically, young people in attendance.
"I think it does offer young people the opportunity to learn about history and learn about why we need to have a military in order to protect our liberty," he said.
Izumi said it's not just about the fallen this Memorial Day, but their families as well.
for more features.