Baton Rouge honors fallen members of the military

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Honor and respect are two words often heard on Memorial Day, the day set aside to remember our fallen military members.

Hundreds around the Metro Baton Rouge area attended memorials and walked the cemeteries Monday, but while many were remembering those with whom they served, one veteran has no memory of the war.

Inside the walls of the National Cemetery in Baton Rouge, men and women in uniform saluted the American flag. In the distance, there was a gun salute to honor those who proudly served our country and gave their lives to do so.

The names of 244 of Louisiana's military veterans were read at a service in Port Hudson Monday morning. Those men and women all saw combat in their lifetime and died in the past year.

"I'm here because of those that made the supreme sacrifice and I'll always cherish the memories of those guys," said Joe Cooper, a U.S. Navy veteran.

It's the memories of old friends, those buried beneath the soil and the sea, that Fletcher Yerby can't remember. Alzheimer's won't allow him to remember much.

While many of the men and women at these services can tell you what unit they served with and for how long, Yerby can't remember his 23 years in the Navy or fighting in World War II, Korea or Vietnam. His wife said he wanted to attend the ceremony to speak with some other veterans and try to remember.

Matthew Story's family crossed paths with Yerby at the Baton Rouge memorial. Story said he was in attendance hoping to show his children what sacrifice means.

"When there's war, some people die," Story said. "That's what we're here to talk to them about. Not everybody makes it home and we need to remember the people that gave everything."

It's hard to know if Fletcher Yerby will remember the memorial service, but many others said they remember their fallen brothers and not just one Memorial Day.

"God bless them," said Cooper.

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