WJTV News Channel 12 - Memorial Day services held across the east

Memorial Day services held across the east

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GREENVILLE, N.C. -

For many, Memorial Day means barbeques and parties. But the holiday is rooted in solemn tradition, as we remember our fallen service members and thank those who serve today. Let's take a trip across to the East, to see how you were honoring the members of our armed forces.

In Greenville dozens of people were in attendance at a Memorial Day service this morning, including some World War II veterans. Volunteers laid a wreath in honor of all our service members who died protecting our country. Although many people associate the holiday with the unofficial start to summer, veterans we talked with say they hope everyone will take time to remember what the day is really about.

James Harris, a Vietnam-era Navy vet says, "What a lot of people have forgotten is that freedom is not free. That the cost of freedom is in blood, lives, mind, limbs."

The day's keynote speaker was Dr. Steve Duncan, Deputy Commander of the Army Support Center at Fort Eustis, Virginia for more than 10 years.

The city of Washington also honored fallen soldiers. Hundreds gathered at Veterans Park to celebrate Memorial Day. The event featured music, a guest speaker and a wreath ceremony.

Hundreds also gathered in Jacksonville, where the annual Memorial Day ceremony for the Beirut Memorial chapter 642, Military order of the Purple Heart was held. Organizers paid tribute to fallen service members with song and with a wreath-laying. Military representatives say sometimes people aren't sure whether to feel happy or sad on Memorial Day. On the one hand it's the unofficial start of summer, but, on the other, it's a solemn day to remember fallen heroes. Organizers also read aloud the names of Purple Heart recipients who died within the last year, tolling a bell once for each name called.

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In the midst of all the traveling, cook outs, and celebrations Memorial Day is truly all about our military service members. Here are a few events going on Monday to honor our veterans and fallen troops.

Jacksonville

There will be a ceremony at the NC State Veterans Cemetery near Camp Johnson on Highway 24. That event starts at 11 a.m. The Beirut Memorial Chapter 642, Military Order of the Purple Heart is hosting the ceremony. BGen Burke W. Whitman, Asst. Division Commander, 2nd Marine Division, is the Guest Speaker this year.

At Camp Lejeune there will be a special Freedom Boots on the Ground Tribute set up outside the gates of the base. Boots, photos and American flags for over 100 of our military heroes will be on display. This is going on from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. The tribute is for all branches of the military and will include past, present and KIA from the Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force and Marines.

Greenville

The Pitt County Veterans Council will hold its annual Memorial Day celebration at 11 a.m. at the Greenville Town Common.

Washington

The Disabled Veterans Association's Memorial Day service also starts at 11 a.m. That's at Veterans Park on East Third Street.

New Bern

At 11 a.m. the Craven County Veterans Council will host it's annual Memorial Day service at the National Cemetery. That's on National Avenue in New Bern. Marine Sgt. Maj. Holly C. Prafke will be the featured speaker.

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