PLAINS TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- Beyond the cookouts and parties, this weekend is meant to be a time to reflect on the men and women who fought and died serving our country.
Leaders at the VA Hospital near Wilkes-Barre hope people remember what Memorial Day is really about.
The 109th Field Artillery Regiment of Kingston presented the colors of the American flag to a crowd outside the VA Medical Center in Plains Township, for its Memorial Day ceremony
"Memorial Day is in honor of those who have fallen, but it's also an opportunity for us to recognize and pay respect for our veterans that we take care of," said Russell Lloyd, VA Medical Center.
Veterans say the speeches given by politicians, the songs sung to honor the flag, and a prayer said for their fallen brothers make for an emotional ceremony.
"It goes through my heart for the people that I knew and served with that passed on," said Vietnam veteran John Oliver.
"It means a great deal to me because during the Vietnam War, veterans were hated and forgotten and that's changed. And now they recognize and love and respect us," said Marine veteran Sam Booker.
The medical center director tells Newswatch 16 he hopes events like this will encourage people to take a break from the bargains, beaches, and barbeques, that normally fill Memorial Day weekend, to think about the true meaning of the holiday
"It's not just about getting that three-day weekend, it's about recognizing and paying honor to those who have served our country," Lloyd said.
"It's about the fallen, men that gave their lives to be respected at the cemetery with flags and a service," added Oliver.