EAST HANOVER TOWNSHIP, LEBANON COUNTY, Pa. - Honoring the true meaning of Memorial Day: that's what hundreds of men and women say they did this afternoon at Indiantown Gap National Cemetery in Lebanon County.
The 35th Annual Memorial Day Program was held at the cemetery.
Speakers at the program spoke of sacrifice and the ultimate sacrifice made by thousands of servicemen and women so we have the chance to celebrate a holiday weekend with our loved ones.
"So many people think Memorial Day is about the three day weekend, and the barbecues, and the parties, while I partake in that too, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends and having fun... Memorial Day truly is about taking a moment to reflect those that gave their lives to have the freedoms to do that," said Anne Marie Brewer, a program coordinator.
Much of the ceremony was a tribute to servicemen and women.
More than 6,000 miniature flags placed to represent each service member killed in the line of duty since 9/11.
A rose, a reminder of those with a missing loved one who await their return, a lemon, to signify the bitter fate of those who died overseas, and salt to represent the tears shed by friends and families who lost a loved one to combat.
"These heroes died for liberty. They died for us, and they are now at rest," said Gary Crowell, a Marine Corps Vietnam Veteran.
The sacrifices of mothers, fathers, great grandfathers...
"I'm here to honor my father. He passed away five and a half years ago. He served in WWII, the infantry," said Donna West, an attendee.
"My great great great grandfather. He was in the Civil War, private in the Civil War, in the 5th Massachusetts Calvary," said Stephanie Stanton, an attendee.
There was a moment to salute the veterans of here and now, men and women who may not have made the ultimate sacrifice, but who made a commitment to keep the country safe.
"They keep us safe. They keep us free. They keep us from being invaded. I'm so very proud of our military," added Stanton.
"It really is a time to sit back, and you come to celebrations at Indiantown Gap, that's when you realize what the true meaning of Memorial Day is," added West.
A special council puts the memorial day service on each year at Indiantown Gap National Cemetery.
The Indiantown Gap National Cemetery Memorial Council, Inc. is a group of volunteers representing a wide variety of Veteran's Service Organizations (VSO).
A few of the Memorial Council members belonging to more than one VSO.
There are also many members who have no military experience and who are not members of a VSO.
For a calendar of the council's events, click here,