(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) A Memorial Day Remembrance ceremony brought people from St. Joseph and surrounding communities together to honor America's fallen heroes.
The ceremony took place at the V.F.W. post 6760 at 11 a.m. Monday morning. While the service began outside, it was quickly moved indoors due to rain and wind.
Guest speaker Capt. Michael Nellestein, MD. U.S. Navy Ret., said Memorial Day is about taking time to remember past friendships, lost loved ones and fallen soldiers.
“It’s not a shopping day or a holiday for me, it’s a sad day," Nellestein said.
During his speech, Nellestein spoke about his mentor, swim coach, best friend and father figure he had growing up. John Charles Pennington, a Morine Corps Veteran, was killed in Vietnam during the war. He was only two weeks away from coming back home.
"I've spent my life trying to pay back a debt of gratitude to him by serving in the Navy and taking care of the United States Marines, in particular, but all our service members," Nellestein said. "I joined the service to pay back a debt to the man that I think saved my life.”
John Minton, Secretary of the Joint Vets, also spoke of past loved ones who served time in the military.
“I have a family history of many, many people who have served, but my grandfather served in the first war," Minton said.
The ceremony ended with a 21 Gun Salute and Taps by Post 359 Honor Squad.
Following the service, six area cemeteries also held Memorial Day events. The 359 Honor Squad went to Memorial Park Cemetery, Mount Auburn, Adath Joseph, Ashland, Mount Olivet and Mount Mora.