The early morning rains on Monday lifted as more than one hundred people began to arrive at Sunset Cemetery.
They came as many of them do every year to commemorate Memorial Day.
The strains of songs played by the Manhattan Municipal Band such as “America the Beautiful” and “The Stars and Stripes Forever” filled the air as people stepped on the damp cemetery grounds.
Although a somber ceremony honoring fallen veterans, it provided a chance for families from young children to grandparents to remember the sacrifices of others.
The veterans still alive greeted each other with handshakes and hugs while perhaps thinking about those close to them who are no longer here.
As Commander Bill Nowland of the American Legion said during the ceremony, “This day is sacred with the almost invisible presence of those who’ve gone before us.”
Prior to the ceremony’s start, David West sat by himself on a stone bench looking at his program. The program contained the names of the veterans who died from some of America’s first wars through today.
West, a Vietnam veteran who served in the U.S. Army from 1969 to 1972, said he goes to the ceremony every year to honor the deceased.
His father, who served during World War II, is buried at Sunset.
If his father or any of the veterans were alive today, West said his message to them would be simple: “Just ‘thank you.’”