By Lori Ann Newman (Fort Sam Houston)May 29, 2009
(FORT SAM HOUSTON, TEXAS) - Thousands gathered at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio this Memorial Day to pay tribute to fallen servicemembers.
Military leaders from all branches of service along with civic leaders and veterans groups from throughout the San Antonio community united together to remember those who had given their lives.
Some Family members wore T-shirts displaying pictures of their fallen heroes, others carried pictures or mementos of the loved ones they had lost.
"Memorial Day is the day we pause to reflect and honor the memory and the sacrifices of those who gave their lives in the service of this great country of ours and those otherwise departed who served their country," said Master of Ceremonies retired Command Sgt. Maj. Tom Nesbit.
"Whether we are civilians or in uniform Memorial Day gives us the opportunity to honor the sacrifices of those who have died so that we may live free, just and proud," he said.
Maj, Gen. Keith Huber, U.S. Army South commander, directed the presentation of the colors by the Joint Service Color Guard led by Headquarters and Headquarters Company, U.S. Army Garrison, followed by the invocation by Conrad Meyers Jr., past commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Chapter 1836.
Dr. William Campbell, deputy chief of staff for the South Texas Veterans Health Care Systems, provided the opening remarks.
"The Americans we honor today secured for our nation and many other nations an enduring freedom. May God bless the souls of all those interred and memorialized at the Fort Sam Houston VA National Cemetery," said Campbell.
Civic leaders and local veterans groups placed wreaths in the circle beneath the American flag flying at half-mast in honor of fallen servicemembers.
The U.S. Army Medical Command Band and the Alamo Metro Chorus provided patriotic music throughout the ceremony.
Guest speaker, Richard Kleberg III, civilian aide to the Secretary of the Army, addressed the crowd, saying 'We dedicate this special day to the men and women who gave their lives for the life we share today. We can pay them no greater honor than to cherish that sacred legacy of freedom and make it clear we are committed to its preservation, whatever the cost."
"On this Memorial Day we honor and celebrate our military who have given the last full measure of devotion to our country. We thank them for our country. We thank them for our freedom and we thank them for their sacrifice," he said. "We shall never forget them or fail to honor them."