Big showing for state's largest Memorial Day ceremony

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- Smoke popped as World War II bi-planes provided a flyover to kick off the state's largest Memorial Day ceremony at the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona.

Seeing the crowd spill out of the tent and wrap itself around the main stage put a big smile on the face of Korean War veteran Nicholas Gervase.

“There's more people standing outside of the tents than sitting inside the tents,” he said. “There are so many people here, so they've all worked together and do a great job, so I think there is a lot of recognition.”

Wreathes were placed and speeches remembering those who died were given.

All the while, American flags of all sizes blew in the wind. People honored those they knew and those they didn't.

“Every time I see somebody out walking I thank them for what they've done, because I do recognize that without them, we wouldn't have what we have and we take it for granted,” said Dawn Johns, one of the thousands at Monday morning's ceremony.

While it's easy to get lost in the boating, swimming and barbecuing this holiday weekend, Pat Dillman summed up what Memorial Day is all about.

“It means a lot to me. It's all of our servicemen and women who have given their lives and it's a time to respect them and let them know we're here for them,” she said.