ZACHARY, LA (WAFB) - Thousands of people across the country paused Saturday for Wreaths Across America Day to honor the sacrifices of veterans who have passed away. As the names of veterans echoed across the Port Hudson National cemetery Saturday, family members gather to remember their selfless courage and unwavering heroism.
"To honor those who've served and we have to remember that our freedom is not free," Joyce Derozan said. Each December, thousands of veterans across the country who are no longer with us are honored with a wreath as their loved ones, pause to remember their sacrifice.
It has been nine years since Claudia Billiot's sister Marisol was killed in an explosion during her first tour in Iraq, and each year is just a little harder. "To make it less painful we come here and spend it with her here," Billiot said.
Bringing her kids to visit with their aunt she says is a way to keep her memory alive and to also teach them a valuable lesson."I bring them hoping that they'll follow the tradition to bring their kids and they teach their kids the importance of honoring our veterans even though they're gone," Billiot added.
Across the cemetery, Bond Lux paid respects to his parents who were both World War 2 veterans. Instead of a wreath though, he brought roses because their anniversary was Friday.
He said both of his parents continue to be role models even in death, and his time with them he considers precious. "It's special to be able to come back up here and see them" Lux said. "It doesn't make up for the hugs for the times together but they're together. Physically they're here and spiritually they're together."
This year three wreaths were also placed in memory of the three officers killed this summer in an ambush attack on law enforcement. Even though only one of them was a veteran, Saturday all three of them along with countless others were remembered as true heroes.