TYLER, TX (KLTV) - They fight our wars to protect our freedoms. East Texans paid tribute to America's fallen soldiers, and the brave men and women serving in the armed forces.
People filled Tyler Memorial Park for a Memorial Day celebration honoring America's band of brothers..
"Ready, aim, fire, boom, boom, boom," the guns sounded.
Bag pipes played while veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan marched in front of the clapping crowd. For East Texans, Memorial Day is more than a day off, it's a day to honor America's heroes.
"East Texans - they're fighters," said Capt. Sam Garrison. "They're loyal to their sons and husbands."
"I look at the legacy that has been left to young guys like me, able to follow in such a proud tradition of service to our country," said Capt. Justin Lee.
"If a nation will not honor those who've honored it with their service, it won't stay a nation much longer," said Rep. Louie Gohmert. "And, then it runs deeper than that, because it means if a nation doesn't honor those who've served then there'll be fewer people desiring to serve."
"There's a lot of patriotic folks here," said Lee. "There's a sizable veteran community and people here realize the importance of supporting our military regardless of the circumstances. And, so for East Texans, it's a personal thing I think."
"In the United States of America, regardless of the political scene or the economic turmoil, every generation has those Americans within it who will always take a stand," said Pastor Mike Ford. "That's who we are. We are Americans."
Originally called 'Decoration Day,' the tradition of Memorial Day is more than 100 years old. It started in 1868 after the Civil War.