DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – This Memorial Day at DFW National Cemetery, members of the military and their loved ones want everyone to remember that freedom isn’t free.
“That’s what today is about,” said Captain Robert Bennett.
Bennett was the guest speaker for the special ceremony. Captain Bennett spoke to hundreds gathered. “Remembering our warriors, our family members. What they did for us. Their ultimate sacrifice,” Captain Bennett said.
A single rose is given to those who’ve lost someone to war. Patrick Wallace picked one up on behalf of his grandfather, Coyde Pinson Sr. Pinson founded DFW National Cemetery after his son, Coyde Junior, was killed in Vietnam.
“This is the largest group I’ve seen come out here. Every year, it just continues to grow and grow. And, I know that’s what my granddad wanted when he started fighting for this 20 years ago,” Wallace said.
“It’s just a very moving ceremony,” Carla Woolley said.
Woolley picked up one rose for two men. “Just to honor my father who served in WWII and my great grandfather who served in WWI,” Woolley said.
“I never really understood the meaning, the significance behind it all,” said Karrie Champion.
It means so much more for Karrie Champion now. She lost her son, Jonathan Gilbert, this past year.
Gilbert was an Army Specialist who served in Iraq. “This is actually something pretty spectacular, significant
and important,” she said.
“So nice to see younger people out here and getting a feel for this is not just a day off of school,” she said.
Champion took the rose she received on behalf of her son and walked with it to her son’s grave marker. She placed the rose there, along with a flag and cold soft drink. She sat down in front of it and reflected on all she had done.
“I wish it wasn’t just a rose. I wish I could hold his hand. You know, one more hug,” she said.
DFW National Cemetery will close at sundown. They’re open every day of the year.