Hundreds honor the fallen at West Tennessee Veteran's Cemetery

(WMC-TV) - Hundreds of veterans and their families came out to the West Tennessee Veteran's Cemetery in Germantown Monday morning for a fitting tribute to those who serve.

To many, Memorial Day is a day for Mid-Southerners to remember those who have given their all to fight for our freedom.

"Hugh Parks, remember my dad and the service he did for our country and all our veterans," says attendee Brenda Cottam.

"I like to remember the past the people I served with and the people who didn't make it back," adds WWII Veteran Ronald Swatzyna.

While some came out to remember those who've died, others came out recognize veterans for their many years of service.

"12 years, 12 long years but he's still with us in our heart," adds Cottam.

"I wanted to tell you I was wounded twice. I spent my 18th birthday in an Army hospital in Rome," says Swatzyna.

Swatzyna is one of the many veterans who attended the ceremony.

He is a World War II vet, was a prisoner of war, and is also a Purple Heart recipient.

For the family of Hugh Thomas Parks, Memorial Day is a day to reflect on the sacrifices made.

"This is a dangerous world we live in and without a U.S. Soldier, that danger would be inside our borders rather than outside our borders," adds Parks' grandson Jeromme Gray.

Hundreds came out to the cemetery, despite the hot temperatures, to pay tribute.

"My aunt, two uncles, and mom's best friend is out here," says family member Shunica Scott.

For the families of the nearly 17,000 service men and women buried at the cemetery, others came out recognize veterans for their many years of service.

"Our freedom is so important, things that other people dream about having and so many take it for granted," adds Cottam.

Boy Scouts from the City of Germantown also participated in Monday's ceremonies.

They were responsible for placing flags on the nearly17,000 graves there at West Tennessee Veterans cemetery.

Copyright 2012 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.