URBANA, Ill (WCIA) — While some people look at this time as a 3-day weekend, to others, there’s a much more meaningful message behind Memorial Day.
“Since 1866, we’ve always honored and mourned our fallen comrades,” says Veteran of Foreign Wars (VFW) State Commander Brad Gould.
This year’s Memorial Day weekend is no different. Several veteran organizations across the county took the proper pandemic precautions and gathered to honor those who have lost their lives serving.
“People [have] to realize this is the time that we honor and mourn,” says Gould. “We need to get that [message] out to all generations and keep this tradition going.”
They lowered the flag to half-mast, played “Taps”, and fired a 21-gun salute at VFW Post 630 in Urbana on Sunday morning.
“We have to tell the stories of our heroes, and…pass their memories on because heroes never die,” says Cheryl Walker with the American Legion Post.
And she says it’s important to keep those stories alive no matter how far back in time they stretch.
98-year-old veteran James Kelly attended the ceremony. He served in World War II and is a Battle of Iwo Jima survivor. He says still being able to pay his respects years after his time in the war is a true blessing.
“It’s a great honor to be able to do it,” says Kelly. “It’s very important to me because all of my friends that I knew, and some that I’ve lost, and all the good ones I met…some still running around I hope. I miss a lot of them.”