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'Freedom isn't free': Pikes Peak National Cemetery holds annual Memorial Day ceremony

Posted at 6:31 PM, May 27, 2024

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Nearly a thousand people gathered at the Pikes Peak National Cemetery on Monday morning for its annual Memorial Day ceremony.

Service members and families gathered at the cemetery to honor the men and women who died while serving our country. Monday's ceremony included a dedication of wreaths and rifle salutes. After the service, families paid their respects to those buried at the cemetery.

"Every single person in this cemetery fought for our country," said Linda Maple, whose husband was a Vietnam veteran. "They bravely stepped out. They bravely signed the paperwork knowing they may not come back."

Maple's husband, who served for 13 years, is buried at the Pikes Peak National Cemetery. Maple said she also comes to the cemetery to pay respects to everyone else buried there.

"They need to be remembered, not forgotten. Not just thought of on Memorial Day, but every single day," said Maple.

Over the weekend, volunteers made sure no service members were left behind by placing flags on every grave site at the cemetery. The Pikes Peak National Cemetery has been the final resting place for thousands of veterans and their family members since 2018. Cemetery officials say roughly 1,000 people are buried at the cemetery each year.

Kay Smith visited her son's gravestone on Monday morning. He died at 47 years old after serving in the Air Force.

"He knew he was doing an important job for the country," she said. "It was rewarding when he was doing it, but the aftermath was, was hard on him. My son never got to see his children get married, have grandchildren."

Maple said she hopes younger generations will continue to honor those who served so that their legacies are never forgotten.

"That's why I do what I do to keep that legacy alive to let our grandchildren know that freedom isn't free," she said.
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