Families remember their loved ones lost during battle

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Memorial Day is a time to reflect on those who fought for freedom. (KFSN)

One family after another set flowers on the headstones. Crosses and flags marked the graves of soldiers.

Memorial Day is a time to reflect on those who fought for freedom. For Anita Richards, it is a holiday she will never take for granted.

"Sometimes it feels like yesterday over the weekend, recalled the knock on the door, everything you go through up until today," said SSG Frank Gaspar's mother.

Richard's son, Staff SSG Gasper was killed 10 years ago during Memorial Day weekend. He was 25 years old.

"On his fourth deployment to Iraq, he was killed by an IED. An explosive device, a roadside bomb. He was killed instantly," said Richards.

She honored him today at the annual Memorial Day ceremony in Merced. Richards says her son was born on Veterans Day and spoke of his eagerness to fight for the country.



"He didn't go because he was in trouble, or didn't have anything else to do. He just wanted to make a difference. He killed in the global war on terrorism," said Anita Richards.

The somber song played for the families of the fallen.

"The peace you get from it is knowing they fought for a good reason a good cause. Our country is the greatest country because of these men," said Organizer Gene Hamill.

Richards does not grieve alone. Families of other soldiers laid a wreath to honor the heroes.

RELATED: Fallen Soldier Sent a Special Message to His Family

A final tribute, the ceremony ending with a 21 gun salute honoring freedom that was only made possible by the sacrifices of the brave.

"The 21 gun salute tells me that they earned these fires--just to be able to shoot over the graves of the veterans is like a final stamp on their service to us," said American Legion Honor Guard Bernard Ruiz.
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