DENVER — Every headstone inside Fort Logan National Cemetery has a story that families hope to keep alive.
“Loren F. Robb. He fought at Pearl hHarbor when it was bombed,” said Susan Lillydorene, alongside her sister, Sherri Deel, as they sat by their father’s headstone.
“Thank you that Dad was courageous and fought the good fight and just persevered until Sept. 8, 1982,” said Lillydorene.
For these two sisters, that’s the day they lost their dad to suicide after living with PTSD from the attack on Pearl Harbor.
“He ended his life because of the insanity, and so it's been very challenging for us to try to reconcile the struggle," Lillydorene said. "I was probably 50 years old before I really appreciated that struggle."
For them, Memorial Day is more than just remembering. It’s a call to action to help other veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress.
“I would want him to know how absolutely thankful I am that he fought and the sacrifice. There is no way I articulated that while he was here,” said Lillydorene.
As hundreds gathered to honor those who served, these two grandparents were teaching an important lesson.
“We have been reminding [our grandson] that there are many people here who have been gone a long time and maybe they don’t have anyone who comes out to visit them anymore because they have been gone such a long time,” said Megan Flanagan, who was with her husband, Kevin, and grandson.
Inside this cemetery alone, several generations of the Flanagan family can be found.
“My grandfather on my mom’s side, he was World War I in the Army. My father was in the Army, World War II and he enlisted in 1943,” said Kevin Flanagan.
It's a tradition that will continue for their grandson.
“Then you will have three generations of people out here to visit,” said Megan.
Stories that will never be forgotten, keeping the memory of thousands alive.
If you or someone you know is struggling, call the Military Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255. You can also text 838255, or chat with someone online.