TIMONIUM, Md. (WJZ) — While many Americans spent this Memorial Day visiting the beach, pool or park, others gathered at memorials, museums and monuments to honor those who have fallen in military service to their country.
Kai Jackson explains around the country and here in Maryland, Americans stopped to remember servicemen and women who’ve given their lives for this country.
President Barack Obama led the Memorial Day remembrance at Arlington National Cemetery. He placed a wreath at the tomb of the unknowns and honored all Americans who have given their lives fighting for the country.
The president made special mention of troops still serving and dying in Afghanistan.
“Today, just steps from where these brave Americans lie in eternal peace, we declare as a proud and grateful nation, that their sacrifice will never be forgotten,” said President Obama.
World War II veterans, who are watching their numbers dwindle every year, were among those paying tribute to fallen comrades at the World War II Memorial.
“Oh, this is just outstanding, very emotional for me because I have so many friends who passed away in World War II,” said Col. Arnald Gabriel, ret. USAF.
Since Memorial Day of 2012, seven Marylanders were killed in Afghanistan. On this Memorial Day, those men and women were honored for their service at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens in Timonium.
Susan Beck and Chip Blevins lost their nephew.
“We never really paid that much attention to these memorial services until it happens to the family,” said Beck.
These Marylanders breathed their last.
- Marine Sgt. Julian C. Chase, of Edgewater, who died May 28, 2012
- Marine Lance Corporal Eugene C. Mills, III, of Laurel, who died June 22, 2012
- Army Staff Sgt. Daniel A. Rodriguez, of Baltimore, who died July 18, 2012
- Army Staff Sgt. Brandon R. Pepper, of Baltimore who died July 21, 2012
- Navy Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class Patrick D. Feeks, of Edgewater, who died August 16, 2012
- Army Sgt. David V. Williams, of Frederick, who died August 18, 2012
- Army Capt. Sara Knutson-Cullen, of Eldersburg, who died March 11, 2013
More than 60,000 troops are currently stationed in Afghanistan and are set to come home by the end of next year.
The U.S. population is roughly 313 million and less than 1 percent serves in the military.