CLEVELAND — As we mark Memorial Day across the United States, Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland held a special ceremony Monday morning “to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice while serving our country.”
“Before he was elected the 20th President of the United States, Ohio Congressman James A. Garfield gave the very first Memorial Day address – then known as Decoration Day – on May 30, 1868,” according to Lake View Cemetery. “It is fitting then, that we gather annually on the lawn of James A. Garfield Memorial for a special program honoring the people who gave the ultimate sacrifice while serving in the United States Armed Forces.”
We streamed the ceremony live, which you can watch in full below:
Ambassador Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for the U.S. Department of State, delivered the keynote address.
Earlier Monday morning, a gun deck salute was done during a Memorial Day ceremony at the USS Cod. You can watch that moment in the video below.
Watch the full USS Cod ceremony in the player below:
More coverage from 3News' Carmen Blackwell:
Today, hundreds of families and veterans honored those who laid down their lives for their country at the historic lake view cemetery in Cleveland.
This year's special ceremony, paying tribute to the 9,000 soldiers laid to rest there.
Katharine Joss, Lake View Cemetery President and CEO told 3News, "We had 370 volunteers who showed up over three days to flag the graves of our veterans."
The ceremonial speaker was local hero Sgt. Corwyn Collier. Collier is also a Maple Heights teacher and U.S. Army veteran.
"I always think about everybody that has passed away, especially the soldiers I served with," the veteran said.
For Sgt. Collier and his family, today is about honoring those who have paid the ultimate price.
"When we sign that contract, we know that at the end of the day the ultimate sacrifice is our lives but it's something that we do with honor and privilege."
And while we mark the day of remembrance as a national holiday, we also remember.
Joss said, "Think of it as really meaningful to take time out of everyone's busy schedules, social media and the cookouts and for an hour to just say thank you for our freedom and democracy."
Freedom isn't free.