Posted at: 05/27/2013 5:37 PM
Updated at: 05/28/2013 10:04 AM
By: Brittany Lewis

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Memorial Day Ceremonies in Rochester

(ABC 6 News)-- On this Memorial Day, we honor those who didn’t give back, those who gave their lives protecting our country. Many ceremonies were held in our area to do just that.

 

A parade was held in downtown Rochester starting in Central Park and ending at Soldiers Field. A ceremony was held at Soldiers Field Memorial to honor those who were killed and those who are still missing.

 

"I belong to a group that everyone admires, yet no one wants to belong,” said Kay Swenson.

 

Kay Swenson’s son, Curtis was killed in Afghanistan on April 2, 2010, when a vehicle he was in, hit an IED and flipped over. He was 20 years old.

 

"He was strong headed. He was very much one of those kids that you couldn't really tell what to do. He had to do it on his own and learn his own lessons. And he wanted to follow in his dad's footsteps and go into the Marine Corp,” said Swenson.

 

Many at a ceremony at Soldiers Field Veterans Memorial, remembering someone like Curtis—a family member, friend, or fellow soldier who died while serving their country.

 

"Today is about the people that didn't make it home,” said Mark Larsen, who spent 21 years in the Army and Army Reserves.  

 

"The first time I had to present a family with a flag and thank them for their service... I had a lump in my throat,” said Terry Ellerman, a Vietnam Veteran.

"It's kinda hard to explain. It's a family. And it's pretty painful,” said Larsen.

"It was just like losing a brother. We were all brothers basically,” said Ellerman.

 

Taking a moment to remember those who are still missing and never forgetting those, like Curtis Swenson, who didn’t make it back.

 

"They're the reason that we're free today. They're the reason we have a freedom of speech, freedom to gather. And they gave their lives for that freedom and we need to remember that,” said Swenson.