JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)
The sound of "Taps" and the echo of a 21-gun salute filled the air around the Missouri Capitol on Monday as a Memorial Day ceremony wrapped up.
Dozens of people gathered on the north side of the Capitol Grounds where the waterfall and reflecting pool honoring veterans sits. Speakers told the crowd why the day is important to them and their families.
Jefferson City Veterans Council President Don Hentges organizes the memorial every year in honor of his friends lost during the Vietnam War, and one in particular.
"He died in my arms, and i made him a promise that day that I would never forget him, and I would do everything I could to make sure he wasn't forgotten," Hentges said. "He died so we can be free."
Hentges served in the 101st Air Borne Division in 1968. He was injured the same day his close friend Willie died. Hentges remembers those who didn't get to go home every year on this day.
"A lot of people say happy memorial day," Hentges said. "It's not a happy day to me, but at the same time, it's a day to enjoy the freedoms."
Everyday, visitors can see the numerous memorials at the Capitol dedicated to veterans. The memorial service was held next to the waterfall and reflecting pool that outline the Veterans Walk, dedicated on Nov. 11, 1991.
Next to the Veterans Walk sits the Gold Star Family memorial, honoring the families of those who died in battle.
Inside, visitors can go to the Hall of Veterans, which has more in depth history of the state's veterans.