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Southern Coloradans remember their loved ones at Pikes Peak National Cemetery for Memorial Day

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) - Hundreds of families and veterans alike came together on Monday at the Pikes Peak National Cemetery to honor our fallen front-line heroes from the military.

Monday morning's ceremony on the cemetery grounds brought upwards of 1,000 people, with cars lining up along the main road to get inside.

"Every day is Memorial Day. Every day we're memorializing veterans that have served this country, that have that have done their part to ensure that we're free." explains Skyler Holmes, the Director for the Pikes Peak National Cemetery.

With a number of speakers, and musical performances, the roughly one-hour ceremony took the time to lay wreaths, and recognize previously lost soldiers who were identified this past year, decades after their deployment, or acknowledge others that were buried at the cemetery this year, and their accomplishments.

It's all in the name of the overarching message for what Memorial Day: remembering all those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, whether they died in the line of duty or later in life.

"Every one of those those headstones represents a service member that served this country, whether it be them that are interred there or their spouses that are interred." added Holmes.

Dozens of families on Monday spending their afternoon in front of one of the hundreds of headstones. Some can't help but get emotional, as another year passes since their death. Other's, using it as an opportunity to pass on the legacy of their what their parent or grandparent did, to their children.

Kathy Hanner lost her husband of 38 years to illness in 2021. The anniversary of his death approaching next month in late June. She says she used to visit her beloved "Robby" every day after he passed, and then it turned into once a week, and this past winter she stopped altogether.

"It's very peaceful out here. When I come and sit, I usually have a lawn chair and I just come out and visit." said Hanner.

Memorial Day marks the first time she had been back to see him since.

"It's truly an honor for him to be here, for me to be the spouse of someone that is here." she added.

Lindy Sapp found herself at the cemetery grounds Monday with her family, to see her father's marble headstone, after he passed away in 2021. She says he suffered multiple health setbacks towards the end of his life, which stemmed from his exposure to Agent Orange while serving in Vietnam.

"It's nice to be in a state where they have such a huge honor for military, especially for the families that live in the same state. I know we are very grateful as a family to have Pikes Peak National Cemetery here  so we can come and pay our respects." said Sapp.

Danny Ibarra, came to the plot for his father, Luis, along with his wife and two children. One of the boys, just a toddler, never knew his grandfather.

"He was a not quite [even] a month old the first time he met Grandpa here." said Ibarra about his youngest.

The cemetery says since it's creation, they lay roughly 1,000 people to rest per year, adding that they're proud to represent El Paso County as a nationally recognized cemetery for military members.

When fully developed, the 370-plus acre property will have 95,000 graves.

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Tyler Cunnington

Tyler is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about him here.


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