TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – For nearly two decades, Clifford Stephens can be found at Highland Lawn cemetery each and every Memorial Day.
“It’s a way for us paying our respects and to communicate with those who are here about our past and that we’re fortunate we got to come home,” Stephens said.
Stephens, a veteran himself, has emceed the event for almost 20 years. He said he looks forward to seeing other servicemen and women at the ceremony.
“It makes me feel good to know that I got comrades that [have done] similar things that I did,” he said. “We helped protect the country so people can do what they do.”
Woodlawn cemetery held a similar ceremony Monday morning. Both events included the playing of Taps and wreath-laying.
Darrel L. Knight, the Post quartermaster for a local Veteran’s of Foreign Wars group, said he thinks some people have misconceptions about the holiday.
“A lot of people don’t recognize exactly what Memorial Day does, or what it is. They think it’s to honor our veteran’s. That’s Veteran’s Day,” Knight said. “Memorial Day is to honor the veterans that we have lost over the years.”
Stephens said he hopes younger generations can understand the role these fallen soldiers play in the freedoms they have today.
“Be grateful that we went and did our job so you can do what you do today,” he said.
And for Knight, whose family has a deep military history, he said the holiday is still about those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
“Remember that Memorial Day is not a day for picnics,” he said. “That’s not the reason for it. The reason for it is remembering the service men and women that we’ve lost.