Flags and Flowers Fill Scranton Cemetery

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SCRANTON -- Memorial Day is the day we set aside to remember the sacrifices of those who serve.

In Scranton, the family of a fallen marine and many local veterans were among a crowd observing Memorial Day.

But, the annual ceremony wasn't the only thing that brought people to a cemetery in west Scranton.

Nick Colacicco, a Vietnam War veteran, comes to Cathedral Cemetery each Memorial Day with his son and his father, a World War II vet.

"It's just important to see the veterans recognized that passed away and did so much for our country. They gave us the freedom to come up here and celebrate Memorial Day," Colacicco said.

The ceremony at Cathedral Cemetery in west Scranton has become a tradition for their family and many others. A tribute to service members who have died.

It's a tradition for the Johnson family from Scranton, too, ever since their son, Marine Lance Corporal Larry Johnson died in Afghanistan in 2010.

"Kind of mixed emotions, it brings me peace and pain at the same time. It brings everything to the surface again, not that he will ever be forgotten," said Lance Cpl. Johnson's stepfather Jeff Whitney.

It's families like the Johnsons, that inspired Brigadier General Carol Eggert to speak at the Memorial Day ceremony.

"Just to be a part of a community, a tight-knit community here in Scranton, is an honor. It's an honor to see people remember, remember the service of others," Brig. Gen. Eggert said.

Leading up to the Memorial Day ceremony on Monday, volunteers organized by the Lackawanna County Veteran's Affairs Office spend a lot of time at Cathedral Cemetery putting 13,000 flags next to the graves of veterans.

But, the day is also a chance for people to visit and spruce up the graves of their loved ones.

Joanne Murphy of Scranton and her granddaughter got their hands dirty clearing away the overgrown grass that covered her parents' grave marker.

She does it each Memorial Day.

"It's a wonderful thing to do on Memorial Day to memorialize all those who have died," Murphy said.

Michael Wharton also makes the same trip each year, to place flowers on his parents' grave.

"Every major holiday, just to remember the people who you love. Plus, my dad was a veteran so, Memorial Day, you think about him," Wharton added.

No matter who you are thinking about on this Memorial Day, it's a time to remember and reflect.