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In honor of their sacrifice
memorial pic 1
Representatives from all branches of the military, above and far right, attended the Dawson County Memorial Day service Monday at Veterans Memorial Park. - photo by Frank Reddy Dawson Community News

More than 100 people gathered at Veterans Memorial Park on Monday afternoon to honor military personnel who have laid down their lives for the country.

Keynote speaker and veteran Bill Sexton described Memorial Day as a “time of remembrance for those who have died in our nation’s service.”

 “We need to keep this day alive and honor our fallen veterans,” he said.

The annual holiday service also featured the changing of the flags and a 21-gun salute.

Master of ceremonies Wayne Watkins, state president of the Vietnam Veterans of America, said it’s important to bring “newer generations out to remember what veterans sacrificed for the freedoms we enjoy.”

Pam Hamalianen, president of the Veterans Affairs of Dawson County, said the annual gathering is an important one.

“If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t have the freedoms we have,” she said. “So why not honor those who have given to us?”

Originally known as Decoration Day to remember soldiers killed in the Civil War, Memorial Day was first observed as a national holiday in 1971.

A memorial wall at the local park has paid tribute for more than two decades to veterans killed in service.