SIERRA VISTA, Ariz. (KGUN) — While some people may view Memorial Day as the kick off to summer, military families see it as a solemn time to remember those who gave their lives for our country.
The Army founded Fort Huachuca more than 140 year ago. In the years since, the cemetery there has told a steady story of sacrifice.
On this Memorial Day active duty troops, veterans and families who’ve lost loved ones joined together to remember and came together in person after the pandemic forced a virtual ceremony last year.
Garrison commander Colonel Jarrod Moreland told visitors to Fort Huachuca’s Memorial Day observance: “So many Americans have given all they had on this earth, to ensure that the rest of us can live in peace and prosperity. As the quote goes, ‘home of the free, because of the brave.’”
Fort Huachuca’s commanding General, Major General Anthony Hale has seen the sacrifices of soldiers--and families---first hand.
“Having been deployed over seven years since 911. I have attended dozens of memorial and ramp ceremonies in combat. Each time I think of the father, mother, the son or the daughter, who were not returning home to their family.”
The Gamez family placed a wreath to honor Sergeant Kyle Gamez. He served in the Navy, then the Army. His sister Sydney Gamez says he died by suicide while serving in Hawaii.
“I think it's just good to honor everybody you know. The people who lost their lives in the fight and then the people who brought the fight home and lost their lives that way.”
Senator Mark Kelly served 25 year in the Navy and as a NASA astronaut. He says it was important to be at the ceremony to honor service and sacrifice.
“We do have an all voluntary force, and people serve and they often pay the ultimate price so others in our country, that's not something they have to worry about, you know we, we have freedoms that others around the world don't enjoy. Democracy requires that we have folks that step up and serve in the military. I think it's one of the things that makes our country very special.”
A rifle salute came near the close of the ceremony---a signal that warriors have cared for their dead and are ready to fight again. Then Taps---the bugle call that tells soldiers it’s time to rest.