(WWLP) - Thousands of people, all across western Massachusetts found very personal and very public ways to show their gratitude to the military men and women who have fought and died for our freedom.
Montague residents gathered in Turners Falls this Memorial Day. They came to pay tribute to the men and women whose names are inscribed at Veterans War Memorial Plaza.
A moment of silence in Chicopee, where the city's war-dead were remembered with a wreath ceremony at the veteran's memorial plaza near the old Chicopee high school.
Thousands of people lined the streets of Ludlow for the town's Memorial Day. After the parade, a gathering at Ludlow's monument park, for the unveiling and dedication of new monuments containing the names of Ludlow soldiers killed in combat.
Paul Chrzan, a Vietnam War Veteran, told 22News, "It represents the different parts from the American Revolution, all the way through the Middle East Wars.
Veterans saluted for several solemn moments at Westfield's Parker Memorial Park, after which hundreds marched in the Westfield Memorial Day Parade.
Belchertown honored its war dead with a parade to the Belchertown common and a tribute at Belchertown's South Cemetery where the town's war dead are buried.
West Springfield played Patriotic music before formally honoring military personnel who died serving their country.
West Side Director of Veterans Services Jim Berrelli read the name of every West Springfield service member who died fighting in a war.
Veteran groups and civic organizations marched from South Hadley High School to Town Hall, to honor those lost while fighting for their country.
According to Bill Schester of South Hadley, "It's to remember those who have fallen from the Civil War right up until the present and South Hadley has certainly done its share. We lost several people, seventy odd people since then."
Many parents told 22News they think it's important to teach young people to understand the true meaning of Memorial Day.