Hundreds pay tribute to military heroes at Port Hudson National Cemetery

ZACHARY, LA (WAFB) - Hundreds humbly honored their loved ones during a special Memorial Day tribute at the Port Hudson National Cemetery.

War veterans, relatives and friends of those who lost their lives in the name of freedom gathered under the colors that brought them together.

"Think about the mommas, the daddies, the brothers and sisters who lost a loved one," Commander Billy R. Foley said.

Melanie Way was at the service to pay her respects to an uncle who spent most of his life at war.

"He's the first person I thought of when I woke up this morning," Melanie Way said.

United States Marine Corporal Stanley Vicknair fought in Korea and World War II. He joined the U.S. Marine Corps at the young age of 17.

"It was so hard for him to talk about it, but we knew from the picture on the Hiroshima and visiting the World War II museum, how difficult that was," Way said.

It's not something most war veterans find easy to talk about.

On this day U.S. Marine Lt. Col. Byron Richardson is counting his blessings, but also reflecting on the lives of his family members who also fought and are now in their final resting places.

"I spent 22 years in the Marine Corps, and I have a lot of relatives buried, uncles that served in WWI and WWII. It's just a way to honor those who went before me and friends and marines I served with," Lt. Col. Richardson said.

Thousands of servicemen and women are buried in the cemetery that dates back to the Civil War. Every plot has a unique story of a person who wore the uniform for the same purpose.

A project is underway on the cemetery grounds to raise, re-align and clean more than 3,600 headstones.

It is set to be finished by July 1, 2015.

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