SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- Almost 200 Soldiers, veterans, family members and community members gathered, Monday, for what was described in a previous year as a "solemn celebration of freedom … and a commemoration of those who have fallen, and those who have served."

The Memorial Day Remembrance Ceremony at Schofield Barracks' Post Cemetery offered a time for reflection and to pay respects.

-- Dawn Stirrings

Beginning at dawn, local chapters of the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts began placing flags and ti leaf lei on each of the cemetery's 1,868 gravesites. Family members and friends began visiting individual sites at about the same time as the sun gave rise to a picture postcard perfect day in Hawaii.

One veteran who visited commented, "I have feelings when I come here. … I lost good friends."

-- Veterans not Forgotten

That veteran was retired Sgt. 1st Class Don Cook. He offered those words in 2012.

He also said at the time, "I hope, after I pass, others will continue to remember the service and sacrifice from those who served in all wars."

Cook died in 2014.

Fellow members of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, along with a growing swell of veterans and community members have not forgotten. The attendance for this ceremony has grown dramatically in succeeding years.

Representatives of the MOPH, the American Legion, the Disabled American Veterans, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars all participated in the brief, but solemn military ceremony.

Each placed a flowered wreath under the flagpole and saluted, in respect to service members past and present, followed by a 21-gun salute and the playing of taps as part of the national salute.

GC-speaks-with-vets-hats-MVI_3240_w"Whether we simply pause, or visit a memorial, or toast the fallen, or comfort a survivor," said Col Richard A. Fromm, commander, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii, "let each of us give a thought to those who, by their ultimate sacrifice, passed the torch of freedom.

"May those of us who stand in defense of our nation continue to hold that torch high and carry it proudly in their stead," Fromm added.