MOUNT CARMEL — More than two dozen people attended the Memorial Day ceremony in Veterans Park at the corner of Third and Market streets Monday.
The Mount Carmel Fire Department hoisted a large American flag over the gathering that billowed in the hot breeze, in addition to the other smaller flags that surrounded the park.
Former VFW commander Mike Risley gave the invocation and shared some opening remarks.
"We are gathered here in solemn ceremony to remember the veterans in the United States of America. Many of them gave everything they had and it's our duty to remember, to pass it on to our children," Risley said. "Remember — we have to remember. It seems like a fading glory, this ceremony, because a lot of people don't show up."
The American Legion and VFW auxiliaries presented a wreath at the bottom of flag poles in remembrance of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
VFW member Gary Arnold was the featured speaker.
"We are here to honor our heros, remember their achievements, courage and their dedication, and say thank you for their sacrifices," Arnold said.
Arnold said there are many versions of how Memorial Day began, but he shared one involving both northern and southern families grieving after the Civil War and how they started to decorate the graves of lost soldiers. He began to get choked up, and continued to tell the story of how families decorated graves of Union soldiers in the south, and hoped the same would be done for their lost loved ones in the north.
"Today people throughout the country will gather together to remember to honor with gratitude those who served our country," Arnold said. "Our gathering is just one small part of the pride that burns across the country today and everyday. It's not a lot, but it's a way to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice so that we can live in freedom."
The Mount Carmel Veterans Honor Guard saluted their fallen comrades by firing three rounds into the air, before Mount Carmel Mayor Bill Hudson performed "Taps" on the trumpet.
Boy Scouts also honored passed veterans Monday by placing flags at the graves of every veteran in Mount Carmel.