By Conor McCue

PARKER, Colo. (CBS4) – The rain didn’t keep Coloradans from remembering the brave men and women who have served our country and paid the ultimate price for our freedom.

On Monday, Ponderosa Valley Funeral Services and J.S. Parker Cemetery held the 12th annual Memorial Day Veterans’ Service of Remembrance.

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The cemetery is home to the graves of 122 men and women who served our country. At the Monday morning ceremony, speakers read each name aloud as a tribute to their service and sacrifices.

“Each one of these crosses and headstones represents a husband, a father, a grandfather, a cousin, a brother, a sister, a mother,” said Brigadier General Christopher Petty. “Every single one of them represents an immense story.”

Throughout the ceremony, speakers offered prayers, poems, and stories about service, remembrance, and sacrifice. A flag was also presented for veterans past and present.

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Later, the crowd stood for a 21-gun salute and TAPS, followed by the ceremonial ringing of an honor bell.

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“Memorial Day should not be a day of sadness. It should be a day of solemn respect and remembrance, but it should be a day of celebration,” said Petty.

Evan Totten, a Parker resident who served in the U.S. Navy as a combat pilot from 1967 to 1974, said he comes to the ceremony every year. For him, the holiday is about honoring the fellow friends and squad mates who lost their lives, as well as the many others who make the ultimate sacrifice every year.

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“I remember those, and I remember the investment they made,” Totten said. “I remember their commitment to the mission over there and to the country, and that’s what Memorial Day is to me.”

Sue Kalamen has been to all but one of the ceremonies over the past 12 years. This year, she was joined by her husband and grandson, who plans to join the U.S. Army next year.

“It’s not about opening your pool and doing the barbeque, those things are great today, but that isn’t what this is about,” Kalamen said.

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“[It’s about] remembering the country and what it stands for and the people who have given their everything.”

Conor McCue