MEMPHIS, Tenn. — At the West Tennessee Veterans Cemetery, hundreds gathered Monday for a dignified and solemn ceremony of remembrance.

 “It’s a day to honor those men and women of the U.S. Military that paid the ultimate sacrifice for the freedom and rights that we have tonight,” said cemetery director Rodney Shaw.

Across the cemetery, thousands of flags were placed in the ground commemorating our fallen servicemen and women. Every flag honors a veteran who served this country and every grave marker with its own story.

“Tens of thousands of stories are out here in the cemetery, of lives that have been given for our country, people who dedicated their lives for our country and also dedicated to the future of our country,” said Doyle Silliman, Eastern Program Chairman of Boy Scouts.

It’s why these people were there for a ceremony complete with a military flyover, the posting of colors, Memorial Day music and speeches as a crowd stands still and salutes the American flag.

“It shows us that people actually take the time out to honor somebody other than themselves and that’s a blessing because a lot of times we only worry about ourselves,” Shaw said.

It’s also a gathering that brings generations together to honor the true meaning of the holiday.

“Memorial Day is a day set aside strictly for this kind of thing so we can pay respect for families that gave up their loved ones, as well as to to the people who are out here as well represented by each stone out here,” Silliman said.

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While for some, Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer, this holiday resonates deeper for those with ties to the military.

From soldiers to Marines, from those who served in World War I to the War on Terror, this is a day of purpose that veterans and all Americans hope will never be forgotten.

“I think that this day is to honor those, like I said, who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country so that you and I both can have the freedom and the rights that we have,” Shaw said.

The West Tennessee Veterans Cemetery is a state run cemetery that opened in 1992.  There are more than 26,000 graves of U.S veterans and their families.