SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - About 300 people gathered at Santa Barbara Cemetery for the annual Memorial Day ceremony Monday morning.
Veterans, dignitaries and community members sat in front of gravestones marked with American flags, each flag placed where a service member is buried. The hour-long event gave everyone in attendance a chance to hear from vets about the importance of Memorial Day.
"We need to do this," said Brigadier General Fred Lopez, USMCR (Ret). "Not for us but for the future generations so they'll remember and [veterans] will never be forgotten and the sacrifice they made."
The program is organized by The Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation; the motto for this Memorial Day is Never Forgotten.
"This is a day of praise and thanks to those who have answered the call of duty," Col. Phil Conran, USAF (Ret) said. "And they shed their blood so that we can live in freedom."
Along with the American flags standing tall at each service member's grave are wreaths that were presented in honor of each branch of the military. Bagpipes played, a choir sang and taps was played all before the ceremony wrapped up with a flyover by vintage war planes performing the missing man formation.