AURORA, Colo. — It's Memorial Day weekend and while many are already on vacation or preparing for it, it's important to remember why we have the long weekend at all.
"It's important to be grateful for where your gifts come from," said Rick Crandall, executive director for Colorado's Freedom Memorial Foundation.
The gift Crandall is talking about is our freedom.
"Men and women, many drafted, others who raised their right hand and said, 'I want to serve my country,' who went off to protect freedom in places they had never heard with the intent it would secure our freedom as well," said Crandall.
Memorial Day is about pausing our everyday lives to remember military veterans who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
"It's a great start to the summer, of course, a big three-day weekend when people want to camp and barbecue and have fun, and they should. That's all the purpose of our freedom. We're allowed to do those things. But it would be a shame to go these three days without remembering why we have the weekend," he said.
Hundreds attended the Colorado Remembers event in Aurora on Saturday morning, to do just that.
Phil Curry, who is a retired Navy pilot and treasurer for the group Military Vehicle Collectors of Colorado, was at the event to show people a little piece of history and historical military vehicles.
"Some of them start even crying. They sit in it, and it just brings back some bad and good memories for them," said Curry. "This is a good way to honor them and also give people memories of what it was like back then."
"When you leave here, you'll feel a little bit more gratitude for those who gave all and maybe at a time when we could use it a little prouder of the country you live in," said Crandall.
The Colorado Freedom Memorial is a place people can visit in Aurora year-round. It honors Coloradans who left to fight for freedom and never returned.
The memorial holds the names of over 6,000 Coloradans killed or missing in action.