Retired Navy LT Curtis Crowe recalls Memorial Day was quite different in the past.
Says Crowe, "I remember as a boy when the whole town shut down for Memorial Day."
Veterans and visitors gathered at Sunset Memorial Gardens Monday to honor those who died while serving our country.
Crowe says the best thing citizens can do for a soldier is welcome them home with open arms.
He says patriotism has ebbed through the years, especially following the Vietnam War -- and many still don't feel a strong connection with those in uniform.
Says Crowe, "People don't associate themselves anymore with the military, or we have mothers who don't want their children to be hurt."
That's why many say it's more important now than ever to remember those who paid the ultimate price.
Georgia National Guardsman Michael Bryant says, "It is [of] the utmost importance that we remember that past, just as we look forward to the future."
Thousands of American flags were also placed on the graves of veterans.
The flags were paid for out of volunteers' pockets -- many of whom are
Event organizers say it's the least they can do to remember those who