MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The West Tennessee Veterans Cemetery was filled with thousands of grave markers of American flags that each told a story representing a sacrifice made.

Jim Land retired from the U.S Navy and returns here each year to pay his respects.

“Just listening to when the fellow was playing taps. I actually got a little watery eyed,” he said. “It is emotional when you’re thinking about all of these people that went before us.”

The fallen members of the United States Armed Forces were honored with a flyover at the cemetery grounds, Memorial Day Music, and speeches reflecting on what this holiday is about.

“Our purpose is to memorialize those who’ve given the ultimate sacrifice so they won’t be forgotten because if were not for them and others we wouldn’t have the freedoms that we have,” Joseph Kyles of Veterans Services said.

Retired Brigadier General Harry Montgomery, the guest speaker, says it’s important we know this day is not about celebration, but observance.

“Today we honor all of those who’ve gone before us and not just those who died on the battlefield,” Brigadier said. “How many died of cancer, but their bullet is exposure to dangerous chemicals like Agent Orange? How many died of addiction, alcoholism, or suicide, but the real bullet was untreated PTSD?”

The sacrifices of American service members were heavily remembered on this Memorial day and is the reason why Jim Land and others were there to say thank you.

“They’re the ones that sacrificed the most so I could actually do what I do on a daily basis,” Land said.

The West Tennessee Veterans Cemetery has more than 26,000 graves.