ALTON, Ill. (KSDK) - On the Memorial Day, we honor and remember those serving our country and those who have lost their lives fighting for our freedom.
Many services were held throughout our area including one a sunset service at the national cemetery in Alton.
It may not be the largest military cemetery in the St. Louis area and, in fact some don't even know it exists, but about 100 people gather here every Memorial day weekend for a sunset service to remember lives lost.
Inside the National Cemetery in Alton, people gather on a hill, set up their chairs and listen.
They're here to remember servicemen and women they know that serve, have served or have lost their lives protecting ours.
World War II veteran Sergeant Bill Schmitt comes to the sunset ceremony every year.
"I think it's part of my duty here," Schmitt said.
He says he appreciates the cemetery, but it has it's issues.
"There are veterans graves out around the perimeter here and it's too bad that they are taken care of," he said.
Two 18-years-olds agree.
Todd Oberkfell and Nicholas McCall are already enlisted, one in the Army the other the Marine Corps.
Every Memorial Day they come here dressed in uniform to pull weeds and place flags near the somewhat forgotten headstones.
"There are veterans off to the side who nobody would even probably know, that they are here who don't get the respect they deserve so we are kind of out here giving them recognition," Oberkfell said.
Organizer and Vietnam Veteran himself, Richard Baird started this service nine years ago and says it's less about celebration and more about remembrance.
"Spiritually to all those people who have died all the soldiers the women and men, sailors, Air Force etcetera that you are not alone," Baird said.
The sunset service is held every Memorial Day at 6:30 p.m.