Families in Michiana mark the graves of loved ones for Memorial Day

NOW: Families in Michiana mark the graves of loved ones for Memorial Day

GRANGER, Ind - Ahead of Memorial Day Weekend, families visited the St. Joseph Valley Memorial Park to mark the graves of their loved ones who lost their lives fighting for our country.

“We want to remember the sacrifice that was made for our freedoms,” said Jim Mckinnies, a resident of South Bend and Iraqi war veteran.

On Friday, local veterans were honored by marking gravesites with American flags.

McKinnies, who served 8 years in Iraq, said it's important for families to see their losses are not forgotten.

“We want them to come out to a grave that are marked as a symbol of our appreciation for their family members’ service for our country,” said McKinnies.

He wanted everyone to know the freedom we have in this country came at a very real cost.

“Freedom is not free, there has been a price paid for freedom, and Memorial Day is not about the living veterans, but it's about those that given their life for our freedom,” he said.

Lynee Ward also stopped by to pay respects to her military family members. Both her father and her uncle served in the U.S. Navy.

“It's just to come out and honor them and their service, and to have a lot of good memories right now and to pay respect to all veterans that are out here,” said Ward.

Lilianna Ballge who works with Homes for Heroes, an organization that helps military families save money when buying or refinancing houses, knows how difficult losing a loved one to war can be.

“I have a lot of respect for those, for family, it becomes a family sacrifice, so I appreciate family that is still here for those that are active and for those that are veterans, we just want to take time to remember them,” said Ballge.

The park is giving out flags at the gate for all military families throughout the weekend.

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