By: Noelani Mathews
May 29, 2017
VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) -- South Georgia communities remembered those who made the ultimate sacrifice with a Memorial Day ceremony at Sunset Hill Cemetery.
A Memorial Day tradition at Sunset Hills Cemetery in Valdosta, Georgia, as city, county, and military communities gathered to remember those who died serving their country.
Rows of different headstones from different war periods, all sharing the same cost of sacrifice.
American flags mark the final resting place of nearly 2,500 local veterans, many of whom died while serving.
“Because of this kind of bravery, the Star Spangled Banner still waves and freedom rings,” said Valdosta Mayor John Gayle.
Following the ceremony, many people visited the graves of local fallen soldiers, remembering them as fellow comrades, family members, and friends.
“I make it a point each year to let those warriors know they are not forgotten,” said Vietnam veteran Earl Hendrix.
Chief Master Sgt. Earl Hendrix retired from Moody Air Force Base. On this day, the Vietnam vet is reminded of his fellow warriors that never made it home.
Hendrix said, “Like the old cliché, freedom is not free. It costs and we have to be willing to pay that cost.”
Since 1990, 11,268 Georgia residents have lost their lives in action.
“I fought for my country, I bled for my country, I killed for my country, and I would do it again,” said Hendrix.
Georgia reenactors closed the ceremony with a 21-gun salute.
The city of Hahira also hosted a Memorial Day ceremony Monday morning. The American Legion Post says more than 200 people attended the service.