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Hundreds honor service men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice

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BEDFORD COUNTY (WSLS 10) - One of the largest Memorial Day observances across the commonwealth is held each year at the National D-Day Memorial.

On Monday, more than 1,500 people paid tribute to the men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Veterans and families saluted the red, white and blue as the color guard presented the flags.

For some veterans, it took a push of courage to be at Monday's service.

"It's my first time that I've seen one since August of 1992," commented Terry Cumby.

The loss of fellow comrades killed in Somalia kept the Marine from coming to a memorial service.

"There's been a whole lot of bloodshed in other countries for us to be able to stand here and do this interview right now," said Cumby, who served for 10 years and was involved in Operation Eastern Exit, Restore Hope,Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

"We shed a lot of tears," commented Cumby's wife Dawn. "Some came back and some didn't. When I first joined the military, I had no idea what it meant to serve your country. What it really meant to be at war."

Hand in hand, Cumby held his wife for support.

Cumby's father served in World War II when troops took Okinawa. "He was wounded on Okinawa and laid there for three days among the dead before they found him, but he survived," said Cumby.

His uncle also fought in the Normandy Beach Invasion.

Cumby, like others veterans, said he believes in serving his country in order to enjoy its freedoms.

"It means everything," said event guest speaker Bob VandeLinde. "All a veteran wants is somebody to shake their hand and say thank you for serving."

It's a day to remember the names of many who met their graves and support those who suffered great losses.

The National D-Day Memorial Foundation said it will be holding the 72nd D-Day anniversary commemoration next Monday at 11 a.m.