TOPEKA (KSNT) – Community members gathered together to honor and remember those who have fallen today, and recognize the true reason for this holiday.

A ceremony was held at Memorial Park Cemetery Monday morning. Lieutenant Colonel and Topeka native Bryan Gregory was the guest speaker at the ceremony, and he told those in attendance the real meaning behind the holiday.

“I told my sons that Memorial Day is just more than the unofficial start of summer or a weekend of barbeque and fun. Memorial Day is a time when our country collectively reflects on all those who gave their last full measure of devotion while facing its enemies in times of conflict,” Gregory said.

The ceremony featured bagpipes and finished with a presentation of the Wreath of Remembrance.

At another public ceremony at Mount Hope Cemetery in Topeka, an organizer of the event says today is a day to remember those we’ve lost, even if they didn’t serve in the military.

“Not only is Memorial Day for our military and started around our fallen soldiers, but it’s also for the civil servants, those that serve our country in uniform, whether it’s police or fire and all civil servants,” said Ren Newcomer. 

The Capital City Chorus performed at the ceremony, singing the national anthem, “America the Beautiful,” and the official songs of every military branch.