Memorial Day observances honor nation's Vets
VALLEY FORGE - May 29, 2011 (WPVI) -- Memorial ceremonies were held at two historic locations Sunday afternoon.
Men dressed in uniforms of the Union Army paid tribute to the nation's fallen heroes at the Laurel Hills annual Memorial Day ceremony.
Laurel Hills was the site of Philadelphia's first Memorial Day observance in 1868 to honor the union soldiers who died in the Civil War.
There was a gun salute and wreath laying at several graves including that of General George Meade whose army was victorious at the Battle of Gettysburg.
The event, called Decoration Day, may have a Civil War era theme, but it is clearly designed to remember all who gave their lives in the nation's wars.
"It's a holiday and people have fun, and there's nothing wrong with that. I'm going to do the same thing. But we can't forget the role that veterans played in guaranteeing our freedom and the ability to have a holiday," said Andy Waskie.
"This is the real meaning," said Ellen Schmidt, "and this is where I want to be on these days."
At the Freedoms Foundation in Valley Forge, the Latin American Legion Post 840 honored five Puerto Rican Medal of Honor recipients. The 34th annual ceremony took place at the Medal of Honor Grove.
Also in Valley Forge, members of the Ladies Auxiliary laid wreaths to honor those who lost their lives in Korean and Vietnam.
"It means a lot that someone from our little island was able to represent not only the island but the United States and make us proud," said Angel Pagan.
"We take time to reflect and to honor those people who gave their lives so that we can be free to be able to do what we like to do," Olga Melendez said.
The Memorial Day weekend is spent in many ways from short getaways to the shore and mountains, family picnics and even shopping. But those who gathered at the memorial sites on Sunday say they just wanted to take some time out to contemplate the true meaning of the holiday.
pennsylvania, veterans, local/state
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