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Memorial Day service in Merrill honors service men and women lostSubmitted: 05/25/2015
MERRILL - Hundreds of people gathered in Merrill on Monday to honor the lives of the service men and women lost over the years.

"From the Second World War, there were over 400,000 men and women who lost their lives, and it took a tremendous toll on our young people," said World War II veteran Richard Bjorklund.

The ceremony featured a guest speaker and acknowledged those still alive who served. People young and old remembered friends and family who are no longer here.

"Everybody worked together, and we still lost guys," said Vietnam War veteran John Jirovec. "It's hard to forget. Really hard to forget."

For one mother, every day is Memorial Day.
 
"My son Ryan, Sergeant Ryan Jopek, was killed in action on August 2, 2006," said Jopek's mother Tracy. "He just turned 20 and was coming home in a couple weeks, but fate didn't have it quite that way, and he didn't make it home, and we miss him every day."

Tears were shed thinking of the memories of loved ones, remembering freedom comes with a price.

"We are losing men and women right now, and we should remember that it's not easy," said Ladies Auxiliary VFW member Marie Skic. "It's hard on the families, and it's something that I guess has to be done to keep our country safe."

"Freedom is something we have to work for every day," said Jopek. "It's not something that's a given. It's not guaranteed forever. It's only because of them that we are able to do the things we do as Americans."

The ceremony reminded attendees that Memorial Day should not be just one day of the year.

"We should remember them every day of every year," said Bjorklund. "But we ought to set aside, and we have, one day to come together to remember those people who died to save us."

Story By: Mary O'Connell

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