FORT DODGE, Kansas - Hundreds of southwest Kansas residents paid their respects to the nation's deceased veterans in a ceremony Monday.
Held at the Kansas National Cemetery at Fort Dodge, those in attendance heard from several speakers who spoke of the importance of celebrating those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.
"We're here to honor those and remember those that did not come back, those still with us and those that had gone before," said Col. Norman Forbes of the U.S. Air Force. "We remember these men and women who paved the way for the current and future generations of warriors willing to take up the cause of freedom."
The ceremony honored the veterans who were buried at Fort Dodge in the past year. The names of the 80 Kansas soldiers killed in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom were placed in balloons and released to the sky.
"Every minute of every hour of every day, Americans enjoy the blessings of a peace loving nation, blessings protected by the selfless service of men and women in uniform standing in lonely watches on far-distant ramparts of freedom," said Becki Salm, an administrator with the Kansas National Cemetery.
The veterans also thanked those in attendance for actually taking part in what Memorial Day is all about.
"Some of us today will come to a place of honor where the flags are flying and the graves are silent to place a flag or a flower on the grave of that veteran that means something special to us," Col. Forbes said.
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