Every year, East Texas veterans put U.S. flags on the graves of soldiers who have either passed on or died in combat. Friday was the first Garden of Memories tribute for Craig Johniken. He's not a veteran, but knows how important it is to honor the men and women who died protecting the rights of Americans.
"We're just trying to show them a little respect and let everybody know that we're still thinking about all our past fallen soldiers - people that served us and give us the freedom that everybody in the United States deserves," Johniken said.
It was also Stephanie Gillespie's first time honoring soldiers buried in the Veterans Garden, but she knows Memorial Day isn't the only time we should stop to think about the sacrifices veterans have made.
"My grandfather was a veteran," said Gillespie. "If it wasn't for our veterans, where would we be today? Probably nowhere."
Retired Marine Donald Dupree agrees, our veterans should always be remembered long after their fight is over.
"I spent 20 years in the Marine Corps," Dupree said. "These people deserve it; that's all there is to it and that's something we just have to do."
The Avenue of Flags is also on display at the Garden of Memories. If you walk through the cemetery off Highway 59 coming into Lufkin, you can see American flags placed throughout the grounds.