A feeling of reverence and solidarity was ushered in among the crowd as area residents heard familiar names read aloud.
More than 100 Sunnyside area residents showed at the local cemetery this past Memorial Day, Monday, May 28, to pay their respects to the fallen United States military veterans. After the flag salute was recited, several local veteran leaders read aloud names of those veterans who have passed on.
Guest speaker 15th District Rep. Bruce Chandler recognized the holiday as a "national day of mourning."
"But to me, it's a very personal day too," he added.
Chandler went on to explain Memorial Day significance in his life, with a detailed story of his father's experiences in wartime.
"I know many of you have experiences like my dad had," he said.
"I can't tell you how grateful for you (veterans) I am, to choose to put on a uniform and defend our country," he said. "In the end, our freedom is based on our sacrifice, your sacrifice."
Chandler says Memorial Day services, like the one held in Sunnyside yesterday, are a good unifier of the local community.
Local veterans each year organize the event at Sunnyside's Lower Valley Memorial Gardens to honor Yakima Valley's veterans on Memorial Day.
"That's what keeps America that last best home for all humankind," Chandler said.