- Memorial Day gives us the chance to remember those who died while serving our country. On Saturday, hundreds gathered at a Northwoods ceremony to pay their respects.
"It's an observance. It's not a celebration. It hurts too much to celebrate," said United States Marine Tim Bahr. "If we don't talk about those who gave it their all, who's going to? For us Memorial Day is pretty much every day."
Bahr was just one of hundreds who attended a Memorial Day ceremony at the Union Grove Cemetery in Harshaw.
"It's one of those happy tears rolling down the side of your face because some people do get it," said Bahr.
But getting to the Memorial Day service hasn't been easy for everyone.
Retired Master Sergeant Jeff Smoczyk has never attended the ceremony before because of personal reasons. This year, he felt compelled to be there after becoming friends with other veterans.
"Being a retired military person myself, I decided it was time that I should also join the ranks of those who physically show up here if I'm able," said Smoczyk, who served in the U.S. Army and Wisconsin Army National Guard.
It's those friendships that have helped many veterans and their families get through tough times.
"I don't want you to have the experiences that I've had," said Bahr. "They're mine and I'll manage them with some help from my friends, which happen to be a lot of veterans."
Those veterans and community members helped make Smoczyk's first memorial service unforgettable.
"A smile…pleasure…satisfaction to know that those from our area and beyond will not be forgotten because everybody here does remember," said said Smoczyk.
For those who couldn't attend the service, Smoczyk says he understands why.
"Thank you to all those who have served and to those who are not able to make it here, 'It's okay. We've got this," said Smoczyk.