FORT RILEY, Kan. (WIBW) -- At the home of the Army's oldest division, Fort Riley leaders and community members took time on Memorial Day to honor previous generations of soldiers and those that continue to risk it all to fight for our freedoms.
Major General Paul Funk, the commanding general of Fort Riley and the 1st Infantry Division, called Memorial Day a "sobering day of remembrance," paying tribute to all those who have served during a ceremony Monday at the post cemetery.
”Our message is about thanks- thanks for your service, thanks for honoring our fallen comrades, thanks for being part of something bigger than themselves and thanks to everybody for remembering that freedom isn’t free. I think service to your country is one of the most honorable things you can do and I think it comes in many forms and I think we all should be saying thank you," General Funk told WIBW.
At the final resting-place for soldiers, veterans, and service family members, Fort Riley leaders honored those that have made the ultimate sacrifice, placing a wreath inscribed with the words "Lest We Forget."
"They gave their today for our tomorrow. We owe them a great debt. May this occasion be for us not only a day of remembrance but also a time of rededication and recommitment to the values of selfless service, devotion to duty and love of country which they so admirably displayed," said Colonel Harry Rauch, Chaplain, during the ceremony.
"We remember their sacrifices but we remember their unique stories, diverse experiences and lessons learned through each generation’s adversity. We gain strength from their medal," General Funk added when he addressed the crowd.
For veterans in attendance, it was important for them to take part in the meaningful event.
"I want to keep the heritage alive, the spirit that the American people have for the veterans- to honor them, to remember them," said Bruce, who served 25 years in the military.
Fort Riley joined installations across the country with a 21-gun salute at noon, followed by playing the National Anthem and raising the flag to full staff.