Valley families honor loved ones on Memorial Day

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Families honor loved ones on Memorial Day. Families honor loved ones on Memorial Day.
Those who gave all are honored on Memorial Day. (29 May 2017) [Source: 3TV/CBS5] Those who gave all are honored on Memorial Day. (29 May 2017) [Source: 3TV/CBS5]

Every headstone has a story and every flag a special place in someone's heart.

Military families across the Valley were feeling especially this on Memorial Day .

Janet Maddox and her family were surrounded by heroes Monday, and one of them was Maddox's father Cliff Whitehead, who served 30 years in the U.S. Air Force.

"There was a sense of patriotism and commitment, said Maddox. "Family and country, and all of that, was something that he really took deeply and seriously."

Maddox and her daughter, Lindsay Vanamerongen, know the sacrifice Col. Whitehead made as a pilot fighting in World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam.

However, they want to make sure his devotion and love for his country are passed on to the next generation...

The East Valley family joined thousands of other military families at the National Memorial Cemetery in Phoenix to honor their fallen loved ones.  And for Vanamerongen's kids, they were here to honor a man they had never met.

"It's important to me that they understand that so many of the things we enjoy as Americans, the freedoms we enjoy and liberties, they come at a price," said Vanamerongen. "When we are celebrating a day off from school and work, we do it because someone else stepped away from families and sacrificed and put their lives on the line for us."

Maddox hopes that the large crowds of people who came to pay their respects Monday will encourage others to do the same all year long.

"Honestly, sometimes I wonder if young people today are going to have that sense of commitment and fearlessness, and sense of something is more important than their own lives," said Maddox.  

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

Jason Barry
Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

Click to learn more about Jason.

Jason Barry

Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

He is a nine-time Rocky Mountain Emmy Award winner who is best known for his weekly Dirty Dining reports, which highlight local restaurants with major health code violations.

Jason was born in Los Angeles and graduated from the University of Miami.

An avid sports fan, Jason follows the Diamondbacks, Cardinals and Suns with his wife, Karen, and son, Joshua.

His favorite stories to cover are the station’s Pay it Forward segments, which reward members of the community with $500 for going ‘above and beyond’ the call of duty to help others.

Jason, started his career at WBTW-TV in Florence, SC before moving to WALA-TV in Mobile, AL, was named the Associated Press Reporter of the Year in 2002.

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