MEMORIAL DAY: Remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — There's perhaps nothing more solemn and nothing more peaceful than the sprawling West Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery.

In this "Garden of Stones," row after row of grave markers stretch as far as the eye can see.

"We have a background of loyalty to our nation," a visitor said.

This Memorial Day, like dozens before, brings Charles Caviness and his wife to the gravesite of Charles' brother Milton.

Milton Caviness served in World War II and died in 1997.

"I'm hoping and praying that he's where he's desired to be and that he's among friends who have fallen with him," Charles Milton said.

The visit here is always difficult for Charles, but on this day a fellow Vietnam veteran appeared out of nowhere to offer support.

"It almost brought tears to my eyes when he asked to pray for us, and we prayed together," Charles said.

There are certainly many more broken hearts than there are graves here.

Jessie Ingram's son Charles was a Marine Corporal who died in 1994.

"It gets harder when this time rolls around, but I never miss coming out here," Ingram said.

Each year, hundreds gather at this cemetery to honor the 'fallen."

There are patriotic songs, salutes and reminders not all casualties of war died on the battlefield.

"How many died of cancer, because their bullet exposed them to a dangerous chemical like "agent orange?' How many died of addiction, alcoholism or suicide?" Gen. Harry Montgomery, the retired U.S. Air Force National Guard, said.

In the midst of all of the loss, Amara Miles,9, and her friends do what they can in their own small way to help ease the pain.

"We want to respect the soldiers that died for the country and put flowers near their grave," she said.

It's the kind of respect Amara's mom is often missing from Memorial Day.

"It's not a barbecue day. It's to thank and remember those heroes who are no longer with us," Amara's mother, Katie Myles, said.

Sunday, Memphis National Cemetery held its annual Memorial Day ceremony, and over the weekend Boy Scouts placed more than 36,000 flags on each grave in the cemetery.

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