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Slain Md. Sailor Among Fallen Heroes Honored At Memorial Day Ceremony

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Memorial Day, Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens
Ritchie Rochelle 175x131 L Rochelle Ritchie
Rochelle Ritchie joined WJZ Eyewitness News in June 2012. Prio...
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TIMONIUM, Md.(WJZ)—A sea of American flags filled the Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens, where dozens of people came to pay their respect to the men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. From the Revolutionary War to the War in Afghanistan, all were honored.

Rochelle Ritchie has more on the ceremony and those who were remembered.

As many people enjoy their day off with barbecues and trips to the beach, those at Monday’s ceremonies say it’s important to remember why it is a holiday.

The sound of gunfire rings out over Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens, where friends, family and everyday Americans came to pay homage to the ones who laid down their lives for American freedoms.

“This day allows us to remember them for who they were and their service to our country,” said Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger.

In the Circle of Immortals, wreaths are placed at the base of the American flag as the names of those who died are read aloud.

Among those remembered: Petty Officer 2nd Class Mark A. Mayo, with the U.S. Navy, who was shot and killed at the naval station in Norfolk. He was 24.

A sea of American flags were placed at the headstones of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. But in the field, some are missing–those who did not make it home.

“There are still thousands upon thousands of soldiers, airmen, sailors, coastguardsmen that never came home,” said Bill Saats, veteran.

In the crowd of veterans and spectators are the family members of those who died. They include Lynn Coffland, whose brother, Chris, was killed in Afghanistan in 2009.

“It’s hard. It’s very difficult, brings back a lot of memories and you realize all the people who sacrificed,” Coffland said.

Parents say Memorial Day is more than just a day off from work, filled with barbecues, but also a moment to teach their children the cost and value of freedom.

“It’s not just a day off school,” said David Arnold. “It’s all about observance, remembering our fallen heroes and the sacrifices they made for us.”

It’s a teaching moment Arnold’s son Mason says he may not have learned in school.

“They sacrificed their lives for us just to protect this country, and that’s a great thing,” Mason said.

The family of Mayo was not in attendance. WJZ was told it was just too difficult for them.

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