(WAFF) - Memorial Day ceremonies were held across the Valley on Monday, as so many people took the time to pay their respects to our nation’s fallen heroes.
In Huntsville, hundreds of people filled Veterans Memorial Park for Monday’s Memorial Day ceremony. Fifty Gold Star family members were among them. That means their loved ones never returned home, which is why we have Memorial Day.
One of the mothers says her son joined the Army right after the terrorist attacks on 9/11, but he was killed just two years later.
“He was deployed to Iraq and he has only been there about two weeks and he was killed on a mission to find Saddam Hussein. It was about 2 in the morning and he was the saw gunner in a Humvee and it was a roadside bomb that blew up and killed him,” said Cheryl Chris.
Dozens of wreaths were laid around the memorial to remember the brave men and women who died for our freedom.
Following the ceremony, two Koran War benches were unveiled as a permanent reminder of those who fought in that war.
Also in Huntsville, thousands of people remembered our fallen during one of the city’s biggest traditions. More than 4,500 people came out this morning for the 40th annual Cotton Row Run.
In Decatur, more than 100 people attended the Memorial Day ceremony at Roselawn Cemetery.
Four Blue Star mothers participated in the laying of wreaths to honor all of Morgan County’s military heroes. Blue Star mothers are those who have children who served in the armed forces.
These four women represented the county’s Gold Star mothers whose children died while in the military.
Officials in Athens said they were struck by the reverence shown by the large crowd at their Memorial Day ceremony. The Alabama Veterans Museum and Archives held the event at Limestone County Event Center.
The names of all those from Limestone County who lost their lives while serving our country were read aloud during the ceremony.
Over in Lauderdale County, two new monuments were unveiled at the Veteran’s Memorial in Florence, as well as the dedication of a new Fallen Heroes Memorial. The memorial has the names of 229 Lauderdale County citizens who gave their lives in defense of our nation.
The service included the laying of a wreath, the Pledge of Allegiance, the release of white doves, a 21-gun salute, a moment of silence, and the playing of Taps.
Poppies were given to the first 200 attendees to arrive. This is a tradition dating back to World War I.
One World War II veteran, Walter Ingle, said he feels honored to have been chosen to take part in the event. He also says he’s happy people still honor veterans years after they serve.
“It was a great honor to be appointed, because after all, that’s a long time ago. It was also an honor to see that many people out here,” said Ingle.
You can visit the Fallen Heroes Memorial at Veterans Park in Florence. It’s located on the north side of the Veterans Memorial.
Veterans from around Marshall County gathered for a Memorial Day service outside the Marshall County Courthouse. The service was led by Guntersville Mayor Leigh Dollar and retired Brig. Gen. John R Scales.
Veterans and their families heard from fellow veterans and city officials. Their message was to never forget what’s been sacrificed.
Scott Gedling, post commander of the VFW in Arab, talked about why it’s important to pause and remember the men and women who’ve died fighting for our freedom.
"We do this every year to honor our nation’s fallen. Those heroes have paid the ultimate sacrifice for this great country and we owe them a debt of gratitude for all that they’ve done and the sacrifices that them and their families made for this great country,” said Gedling.
Gedling laid a wreath in memory of fallen veterans at the ceremony.