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‘It’s just nice to come and pay respects and say ‘Thank you’’ | The meaning of Memorial Day passed down for generations

Fields of flags covered the State Veterans Cemetery in Middletown for Memorial Day.

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. — At the State Veterans Cemetery in Middletown, there are fields of American flags – each one placed on a burial site honoring a person who has served.

On Memorial Day, the day is less celebratory and more somber at the cemetery as families and friends from all over showed up on Monday to honor veterans from every brand of service.

Bill Alt, a Navy veteran who spent eight years serving in Hawai’i said now that he is home and living in Hamden, he makes sure to come every year to pay his respects on Memorial Day.

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This year, Alt brought his 4-year-old son Nico to help him learn about the importance of the day.

“I’ve probably been coming for seven or eight years,” he said. “It’s just nice to come and pay respects and say ‘Thank you.’”

Credit: Jimmy Altman/FOX61
Bill Alt, a Navy veteran who spent eight years serving in Hawai’i, and his 4-year-old son visit the State Veterans Cemetery in Middletown on Memorial Day.

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Navy veteran Robert Barr was searching for his father’s gravesite. In section 31 of the cemetery, Barr found the chalk-white headstone with his father, Army Pfc. Phillip Barr’s, name inscribed on it.

The elder Barr served in the Korean War. His son, from West Haven, said his father was “always proud of his service.”

“I think this is about self-sacrifice and just reflecting on freedom,” he said.

RELATED: Yes, Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day

As is customary on Memorial Day, the official ceremony at the State Veterans Cemetery took place in the afternoon with several dignitaries, retired servicemen and women, and families on hand to honor those being remembered.

Jimmy Altman is a reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at jaltman@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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