Memorial Day tribute at DFW National Cemetery - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Memorial Day tribute at DFW National Cemetery

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DALLAS -

An emotional day at DFW National Cemetery as thousands show up for the 2013 Memorial Day Ceremony. Families and friends paid tribute to 13,000 men and women of the armed services who served their grateful nation.

Flags were placed at every headstone. Canons were fired. Families hugged and cried as they remembered their loved ones.

The hour long ceremony began with the Mountain View College Community Band and continued with the Reflections Home School Choir. An estimated 7,000 people attend this yearly program.

One of the most moving moments of the ceremony was the laying of the wreath and flag placement by the Knights of Columbus. Then came the reading of the names of active duty losses interred at the ceremony.

Families stood in support when their loved ones names were read.

The family of Aaron Hudson, 20, felt proud as he was remembered. Hudson attended Marcus High School and was from Flower Mound. He joined the U.S. Army to see the world and joked that he was stationed with the 401st in Fort Hood instead.

Hudson was killed by an IED on April 16, 2005 while in Iraq. He was a gunner and was the only one who died that day as he walked beside his vehicle.

"Remember that you get to do the things you want to do because someone else gave you the opportunity.  This cemetery is filled with those people.  They say freedom is not free. You hear it a lot, but it's really true," said Aaron Hudson's father Mark.

Every family has a different story about their loved ones time in service. However, some say they were comforted by the amazing show of support, respect and reverence shown at the DFW National Cemetery..                   

"They sacrificed their life so you can have yours," said Matt Ward. His grandfather Teddy Weatherford was a World War II veteran and POW. "All I know is he did what he had to do to keep this country safe," he said.

Ward is not a serviceman himself but comes from three generations of veterans. Memorial Day means a lot to him. "I was born and raised in a military family. I am literally honored to be in this family," said Ward.

There are 38,000 servicemen and women buried there across more than 600 acres.

Betty Leonard's husband Gary was buried there just weeks ago. It is a comforting continuation of his life long dedication to serving his country.  
 
"I'm very glad to see so many people out here remembering the people who fought wars," said Leonard.

Behind every tombstone, there is a story worth remembering.

Clay Moody is remembering his cousin, 93-year old Mary Elinor Walton. "First African American military nurse, a second Lt. and at the time at that she passed she was the oldest living active nurse practitioner," said Moody.

While this is a day to remember the dead, the reverence and respect shown at the cemetery bolsters the living men and women in arms.
 
"Ya know just not even saying a word, just putting a hand on our shoulders, letting us know they are here for us, it just means a lot to us. It makes what we do worth it," said Justin White who was at the cemetery remembering a friend.

It is also a time to understand the price for the ultimate sacrifice will be paid for decades to come.

DFW National Cemetery closes at sundown. It's open every day of the year.                   

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