On Monday people all across the nation took time to recollect on the freedoms we hold dear, while paying respect to the men and women who've fought so hard to maintain them.
An array of memorials spanned our area, but few were as well attended as South Bend's 89th annual West Side Memorial Day Parade.
While the shiny cars, noisy fire trucks and Americana fashion have all changed with time, the historic event's true meaning has certainly remained steadfast.
"We come every year to the parade. I used to be in the parade when I was younger, in the Polish section, a section that I don't see this year,” longtime South Bend resident Krystyna Bogucki said with a laugh.
While no official Polish groups were listed in this year’s parade program, 115 groups did participate.
Police from Mishawaka and the Indiana State Police drove their squad cars as South Bend showcased its Police Honor Guard and St. Joseph County Police presented its Mounted Sheriff’s Posse.
The South Bend Fire Department was also on hand, reminding adults and children alike about fire safety.
"I love the kids, I love all the excitement, them throwing out candy and everything, I just love it,” Lakesha Tyler said.
You couldn't miss the music from South Bend’s four high school marching bands; students from Adams, Clay, Riley and Washington all walked the 1.4 mile route, belting out patriotic tunes.
South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Indiana 2nd District Congressional candidate Brendan Mullen pounded the pavement, shaking hands to gain voter support.
But despite all the distractions, the crowd on the parade front-lines still put our military members first.
"I came to honor our veterans, to honor the servicemen that are over there now. We have a godson that's in Afghanistan right now. All of them deserve all the respect they can get” Bogucki concluded.
Following the parade, a memorial service was held at the St. Joseph Cemetery located along Western Ave. There veterans and active military took part in an honor roll reading and laying of the wreath.
Mishawaka also joined in celebrating Memorial Day with a parade that kicked off around 9:30 a.m. Monday.
Every year they select one particular veteran who they wish to honor as the honorary veteran of the parade.
"Memorial Day is a day that we set aside to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice,” said honorary veteran Michael Miller. “For the freedoms that we enjoy today."