Memorial Day flags to remember veterans who have gone before us

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GRANGER, Ind. A group met at a Granger cemetery on Friday to honor the veterans who lost their lives in battle or after returning home.

Memorial Day might be a few days away but at St. Joseph Valley Memorial Park it was a day to remember those veterans who have gone before us, defending our freedoms, and gave the ultimate sacrifice for this country.

"It's for those that gave their lives in support of the country, they're the real heroes," Kent Laudeman says. He is a Vietnam and Desert Storm Veteran helping place flags on Friday.

The group went to each grave in the section for veterans, planting a single flag to honor their service.

"We owe it, everything that we can do, for the veteran who died on the battlefield or died subsequent to that. They gave all as far as the country is concerned," Laudeman says.

It's about respecting members of the military who were willing to sacrifice their lives so we could remain free.

"To pay those respects to those who have gone above and beyond is the minimum that we can do as a society or as an individual," Warren Alwine says.

For some, each flag planted tugs at the heart strings. It's a personal endeavor, you might even call it a mission. A duty to make sure we remember the soldiers who left for war but didn't get to return to live in the country they fought for.

"Today's my daughter's birthday, and she's six-years-old, and when I was overseas there was a young man who was 19-years-old. He never had an opportunity to have a family and he sacrificed everything so I could raise my children. So I have a deep sense of responsibility to share their story and honor them because I'm able to raise my family in this great country," Jim McKinnies says. He's an Iraq War Veteran.

Making sure the brave men and women of our armed forces defending our freedoms are not forgotten. Their memory echos across this great nation, from sea to shining sea.

"If we could all just appreciate the sacrifice and understand we're living in someone else's sacrifice. It's not our sacrifice, it was someone else's that allows me to have the freedoms that I have today... was because of young men and women that gave their life for my family," McKinnies says.