BAKERSFIELD, CA - On the morning of Memorial Day, people gathered at Greenlawn Cemetery in southwest Bakersfield. Local leaders, veterans, and their families gathered to show their respect to those who've kept us free.
U.S. Marine Corps veteran, Evan Morgan, led the group in song under the sun.
"God bless America, land that I love," sang Morgan.
"We thank you most of all for remembering in your memories all of these wonderful souls who lost their lives while serving America," said Bakersfield Mayor Harvey Hall.
1,700 service men and women are laid to rest at the cemetery. On Memorial Day, each was marked with a flag. Among them, Desert Storm veteran Miguel Romero Junior. His family visited his gravesite, including his brother-in-law, Angel Godinez.
"It's a price to pay to live here. They pay the price for us," said Godinez.
Tehachapi Police Pipes and Drums played for the crowd. Some people there were, maybe, just learning about the courage behind the colors they wave and what it allows them to do.
"Free to live the way we want to live, free to take our kids to the park, ride our motorcycles and use bad words. Free to do pretty much anything we want because of and thanks to those we honor this very day," said U.S. Army Veteran, Ben Patten.
"Today is a difficult day for me, because today, this is how I feel every day. But on this day, the nation joins me in mourning and remembering my brothers," said U.S. Army Veteran, Wesley Barrientos.
It's about remembering the true meaning of the last Monday in May, especially as the number of fallen continues to grow. Brave service members live and die for the greater good of everyone who calls this country home.
"Remember on Wednesday when work is driving you crazy, someone somewhere laid down their life protecting you and your loved ones so you can do whatever it is you are doing," Patten told the crowd.