Lufkin residents honor fallen heroes with 'Avenue of Flags,' ceremony

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - While many people spent their Memorial Day weekend barbecuing, many others felt obligated to honor those men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our nation. at a memorial service at Lufkin's Garden of Memories Memorial Park Monday.

Today it was a privilege to talk with both young and old about this day. Both veterans and citizens joined together to remember those that have lost their lives while defending America.

Everyone in attendance came with a purpose.

"It gives me the honor of coming out and honoring them for their service," said Edward Stanbery, a U.S. Army veteran. "They gave it all; some of us only gave some."

"They like that we are out her helping them and showing support for them," said William Fain, a Boy Scout with Troop 121.

They were all hoping to give a special thank you to the armed service men and women who have died.

Lt. Col. Al Charanza Jr. of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves was asked to speak at Monday's service. It was a task he didn't take lightly.

To me it was an honor to speak on behalf of those veterans and those who have given their lives for their country on Memorial Day," Charanza said.

Out of respect, those present paid tribute to veterans from both from the Pineywoods and far away.

"It shows that East Texans are very supportive and will take time out of their lives and recognize those veterans who have given their lives, the ultimate sacrifice," Charanza said.

"East Texans are extremely proud of East Texas and are willing to come out and show their honor and appreciation for those who have served our country," said David Nichols, the general manager of Gardens of Memories Memorial Park.

"I'm proud to be an East Texan and come out and enjoy the activities around here and honor all service people," Stanbery said.

"You have to remember and take time to look back at them so they will never be forgotten," Charanza said.

Nichols said he considers this year's event a huge success. The plan is to bring the event back next year, with even more flags on display.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Lufkin had a full day of events to help honor and remember those they have lost. East Texas News was there as members of Post 1836 loaded their plates with some Texas barbecue.

The members of the post use these events to not only talk to those who they regularly see but to also catch up with veterans that they do not see as much.

"We enjoy ourselves, talk to each other and maybe bump into someone you haven't seen in a long time," said Alfred Navarro the post commander of the Lufkin VFW. "It makes you feel good to see them again."

The day started with a memorial service. The post also had a dance with a live band Monday night. All the money raised at Monday's events will go towards future needs. The ladies' auxiliary also helped out and made all the desserts.

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