SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Families slowly walked amongst the rows of headstones at Hazelwood and Maple Park cemeteries to show their respect for those that have given the ultimate sacrifice. 

“We’ve got about, I guess, seven cemeteries that we do. And then we go to Kansas where my dad’s family’s from, and it just makes me satisfied that I’ve respected them,“ said Sarah Keen. 

For many families, this is a way to pay tribute to their loved ones who served in the military. It is also a way to show respect for all of the brave men and women who have given their lives for our country. 

Many have come out to help decorate the headstones with red, white, and blue flowers and flags.

“We always like to do it the day before, so when people are going by them, they see them and I just do it for my friends because some of them died here and their children are elsewhere,” says Keen.

Families say one of the most touching aspects of this tradition is the way that it brings communities together. A powerful reminder of the sacrifices that have been made and the importance of honoring those who have served.

“It’s very, very rewarding,” said Keen.