AGAWAM, Mass. (WWLP) – Memorial Day is a time of reflection, to honor the men and women who sacrificed their lives for their country, but sometimes, the true meaning is overlooked.

Dozens of families spent their Memorial Day weekend mourning the loss of their loved ones at the Massachusetts Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Agawam.

Suzanne’s Cichaski’s father fought in the Vietnam War, and she told 22News she visits his grave to remember his courage and commitment as a father, a husband, a soldier, and a Vietnam veteran. “He was in the Navy, he was on a destroyer. We’re here to respect my father and all of the people who died for our country,” she said.

Memorial Day may be called a “holiday” but for so many families across the country, it doesn’t feel like one. Hundreds of thousands of brave men and women gave the ultimate sacrifice fighting for our country, and every Memorial Day, their families visit their graves to remember them as the heroes that they are.

Janet Wierzbowski was visiting her husband, a World War II veteran. “I’m proud of him, oh yes. I miss him very much so, and I’m sure others do too. I think they’re all heroes when they go out like that,” she said.

Long before the sales and barbecues, long before the three day weekend, Memorial Day was a day of mourning. For many people, like Susan Beauregard, it still is. “You can go to the beach but you have to honor the people that are out there fighting for their country so that you’re able to live in a country that is free,” she said.

Every Memorial Day, millions of miniature flags are planted next to the graves of our veterans, waving in the wind as symbol of honor, gratitude, and freedom.