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The message on Memorial Day: Don’t forget what the day is really about

SEATTLE — Some of graves at Evergreen Washelli Cemetery tell a story of an era that many only hear about in the history books. But for veterans who lived through it, emotional wounds still remain.

“It’s a big thing for an old boy like me,” Anthony Bowen said of visiting the cemetery on Memorial Day.

Bowen, a young boy during World War II, remembers the blackouts and his mother working at the war plants.

He grew up to serve in the Army and he’s lost friends to war.

“I can’t talk about it very much,” Bowen said, getting emotional.

Bowen bottled up those emotions leading for a Memorial Day commemoration on Monday in Mill Creek in his World War II jeep.

Not too far ahead of Bowen, Q13 News met Army vet Victor Banks, who served in the 82nd Airborne Division.

The men before Banks were the first Americans to fight on D-Day.

“Remember there are guys out there that give up an awful lot to let people have things like this,” Banks said.

The sacrifices are not lost on people like Sonya Sack, one of among thousands of people who showed up to the event in Mill Creek.

“I just feel so blessed that we have such freedoms. I almost feel guilty sometimes, but really thankful,” Sack said.

Parent Jose Luna was also in the crowd with his two young daughters.

He says he’s making sure his daughters understand the significance of Memorial Day --  a federal holiday that is often overshadowed by leisurely family activities as weather turns warmer.

“She still doesn’t understand all the way, but we are trying to start with it,” Luna said of one of his daughters.

The understanding is both profound and painful for many people who visited Evergreen Washelli, including the Hubby family. Most of them either served or is serving in the military and they need no reminders of what Memorial Day is all about.

“Honor their memories,” Pat Hubby said.