PORT ALLEN, LA (WAFB) - Residents in Port Allen gathered Monday for a somber ceremony, pausing to honor the lives of those who paid the ultimate price for their country.
While the names of those who passed away this past year were read aloud, many reflected on the sacrifices of the brave men and women.
"They gave so much you know and we really need to honor them," said Joan Smith.
Smith and her friends attend the service every year and this year is no different. For Gloria Bergeron-McDaniel, the day was personal.
"My three brothers all served in World War II and my husband was in the Korean War," said McDaniel.
While all McDaniel's family members came home from the war, she says honoring those who did not is especially important.
"Because they were so close to me and all the other guys that defended our country we knew so many of them just in this little small town," McDaniel added.
Congressman Garret Graves served as the keynote speaker at the event. He focused on the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day and also took the time to remind people that they are Americans first, despite political differences.
"I think things have gotten so volatile that folks are forgetting that first we're Americans and we need to put that first. We have unity in that," Graves said.
Graves also pointed out the responsibility of every American to uphold the ideals and freedoms that so many have died to defend.
"Those that have laid down their lives laid a foundation for us to continue to prosper, to continue to thrive and continue to have our freedoms and continue to be the greatest country on this earth," Graves said.