SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — It can often be easy to overlook Memorial Day. When pools open and the lake warms up, the holiday weekend is often overshadowed by celebration, but in Springfield, dozens gathered on Monday to honor the sacrifice made by our military members. 

Springfield National Cemetery’s annual celebration brought family and friends together as flags flew overhead.

OzarksFirst met with Wilma Mabery, who traveled to Springfield with Memorial Day events in mind. 

“It’s a real thing. It’s a time to honor those that died for us.”

A native of Springfield, Mabery spent the last 43 years in Dallas, Texas. She returned home this year to see where her loved ones were laid to rest. 

“I’d like to come and see the graves, and I always send flowers. My son is here in the cremation section, and my sister and her husband are in the other part here. My brother-in-law served with U.S. Army, and so it’s always a very warm feeling to get to come back and see them.”

Mabery says she’s putting the event on her calendar for next year. 

Monday afternoon, dozens more gathered at Missouri Veterans Cemetery, honoring those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. 

The crowd heard the Armed Forces Medley, and from speakers, including Congressman Billy Long. 

Before the Three-Volley Salute, OzarksFirst spoke with Glenn Hastings, the commander of the local Veterans Memorial team for more than a decade. 

“If it wasn’t for our men, especially World War Il veterans, we wouldn’t have the freedom as we do today.”

Commander Hastings has attended more than 2,000 military funerals since joining the team in 2006. 

He says it’s always a precious thing to spend Memorial Day among fallen heroes. 

“We can dedicate some of our time to seeing our veterans who have gone before us who have died during the conflicts. Our president has sent us to places we don’t want to go…we went because we felt the need And so that’s why where I focus so much and so highly on all of our veterans.”

As the ceremonies wrapped up, those speaking reminded those attending to continue to pray for our military members and their families, especially those we have lost behind enemy lines.