May 28, 2012 7:36 PM

Honoring the fallen at South Lawn Cemetery

TUCSON - It's a day to honor our country's military particularly those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

Hundreds gathered at South Lawn Cemetery for the annual ceremony. It doesn't differ all that much from year to year, but people who attended said it never gets old honoring the fallen.

A 21 gun salute, followed by taps brings back painful memories for a lot of people but most who attended the ceremony will tell you it's worth it.

Veteran Oscar Caballero said, "We both had two brothers killed in Korea. This means a lot to us. This day."

That's because on this day, it's not just about mourning, it's about honor, and sending out a big thank you; something that many of the veterans said hasn't always been there.

Vicente Rivera served in Vietnam. He said, "It's kind of special because when I came home it wasn't too much of a welcome home. This kind of feels like a welcome home."

The annual ceremony also serves as a reunion for a lot people. Some who fought side by side in battle, others bonded together by a head stone and the hero who lies beneath.

Rivera met up with one of his best friends sister. He said, "Its been like 20 years since I've seen her last." She said, "I don't remember but I love seeing him because he was one of my brothers best friends."

The ceremony also serves as a learning tool for the area youth, particularly those likely to have a military future. A handful of cadets from the Civil Air Patrol were among those attending. They said they want to be here, but found it strange that they were on the receiving end of a lot of thank you's.

Cadet Mason Meier said, "At first I feel kind of selfish because I haven't done much. They're the ones who gave sacrifice so it's an honor for us to be able to talk with them and interact with them."

Interaction the fallen don't get to experience, but thanks to ceremonies like this one, their sacrifice won't be forgotten.


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