The air held a mixture of sadness and reverence as young and old stood side-by-side singing the national anthem and watching the flag raised during a Memorial Day Service held at East Memorial Cemetery Monday morning.

As the ceremony got under way, commander of Turnbow-Higgs Post 240 welcomed guest speaker former US Army Sgt. Craig, who read several excerpts from letters to families from soldiers who’ve died in wars past and current. He talked about how all soldiers, no matter what war they died in, left behind families.

“If you ask a soldier how he or she wants to be honored, they will say ‘take care of my family,’” Craig told the group gathered under the trees.

Pausing to clear his throat and wipe the tear from his eye, Craig spoke a bit softer, “No one can replace these fallen heroes, but we can give their families a shoulder to lean on. And we can remember them as the ones who died to protect our freedoms and our families. Once a year is not enough. The families of these fallen heroes miss them every day, at every dinner with an empty chair, with every holiday or family get-together that’s a little smaller without them there.

“Let’s remember them every day, and do what we can to ensure their sacrifices are never forgotten.”