North Carolina Memorial Day ceremonies honor the true reason for the holiday

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Millions of people in cities and towns across the country will come together Monday to honor the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for the United States.

All of this is of course in honor of Memorial Day, which first became a national holiday in 1971. The origins of the holiday can be traced back to Decoration Day, which was a day where loved ones would decorate veterans' graves with flowers.

"It's important to me. Just to take some time to remember why we have a three-day weekend for those who can't be here for that," CJ Grenier of Raleigh said.

Several ceremonies and remembrances happened Monday across central North Carolina. One of those happened at the Capitol in downtown Raleigh.

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That's where Jean Roberts went to honor her husband 1st lieutenant Paul Jensen, who was shot and killed while serving in Vietnam.

"You just handle it. You just do the best you can," Roberts said. She wants to remind everybody that this day is a solemn holiday, not a joyous one.

"There's nothing happy about Memorial Day for me, and I'm sure for anybody that's lost a loved one it's not," she said.

Below are a list of a few other local ceremonies designed to honor our fallen heroes and remember the true meaning of Memorial Day.

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Butner
Annual Memorial Day Wreath Laying Ceremony begins at 10 a.m. in Gazebo Park.

Granville County resident, NC Army National Guard Command Sergeant Major, Retired, Mike Turner will be the Keynote speaker.

This year's ceremony has been modified to comply with COVID-19 guidelines.

Apex
The Apex Sunrise Rotary Club will officially dedicate a field of American Flags to our fallen heroes starting at 11 a.m.

The sea of flags is located at 2220 Candun Drive. Monday's dedication ceremony will feature guest speakers.

The flags will remain on public display through June 6. Taps will be played in the field of flags every night at 5:15.

Johnston County
The area's annual Memorial Day ceremony in Smithfield starts at 11 a.m. inside the courthouse.

All are invited to attend the ceremony in person, but for those who prefer, the event will also be streamed on Facebook.

The guest speaker for Monday's ceremony will be US Army Retired Brigadier General Ray Johnson who is from Four Oaks.

Raeford
VFW Post 10 organized an 11 a.m. Memorial Day ceremony outside the Raeford courthouse on Main Street.
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