CARTHAGE, Mo. — A crowd gathered at park cemetery in Carthage Monday for a memorial service.

As our photographer Darin McCann discovered, this is a tradition that started decades ago to honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice serving our country. A tradition organizers hope will continue for decades to come.

“Our purpose today is to recognize and honor those American who have lost their lives while wearing the uniform of our nation to preserve for us the right and the way of life that we cherish. Fifty years ago we had American servicemen and women sweltering in the jungles of Vietnam and we lost some of them,” said keynote speaker, Bren Flanigan.

“Well it started back more in the Vietnam era when the guys would come back they were kinda looked down upon so they would kinda communicate with each other using coins I’m not exactly sure if that started there but that’s when I started hearing about it. So if you walk up to this Memorial Day or any day you see a penny on the gravestone that’s just letting the family or loved ones know they visited here,” said Michael Juris with the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association.

Though while we enjoy our daily pledges there are others who have endured and may still be enduring the agonies of pain deprivation and internment.

It’s a celebration that folks have gone on and made the ultimate sacrifice and that’s worthy for us to pay attention to and remember and I would say this is the largest crowd I’ve ever seen,” said Veteran, Richard Webster.