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El Pasoans commemorate Memorial Day at Fort Bliss National Cemetery

The entire concept of Memorial Day is centered around the idea that those who have given their lives in defense of our nation should never be forgotten.

Around the country and right here in El Paso, people are honoring those who have served and made the ultimate sacrifice.

“We’ve lost many of our best,” said Brig. Gen. Kurt Crytzer, commanding general of Joint Task Force North based at Ft. Bliss. “So we’re here to pay tribute to them. And of course, we’ve lost many throughout the course of our history, pre-9-11 from the beginning of our nation on. So we’re also here to pay tribute to them as well.”

Crytzer said that 1,320,000 U.S. citizens have given their lives since the start of the revolutionary war.

Tens of thousands of them and veterans who passed away far from battle fields are interred at Ft. Bliss National Cemetery. A ceremony there for Memorial Day drew out hundreds of El Pasoans to honor their sacrifice.

“Every year,” said Gloria Holguin while visiting the graves of her brothers. “I’ve got another one over there, and another one over there.”

Holguin said it’s hard for her to visit, but that the ceremony makes it easier.

“It’s beautiful,” Holguin said. “It’s an honor to have all of this for them.”

Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day, a time to go out and decorate the gravesites of those who died fighing in the Civil War. The name and meaning have changed a little bit over the years, but the importance behind it remains much the same. That’s true both for people who have family buried at Ft. Bliss and for visitors from around the world.

“I think the US has taken care of it’s own for so many years,” said Patrik Nyberg, a soldier from Sweden at the Sergeant Major Academy. “Compare this back home to Sweden, we are getting there. We are slowly getting there.”

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