Veterans gather at Beaufort National Cemetery

BEAUFORT, SC (WTOC) - Many gathered Friday at the Beaufort National Cemetery for the annual Veterans Day Ceremony, honoring the nation's heroes.

"It's a day to remember all of those who went before us, all of those who paved the way for us to do what we do and those doing it today and right now are in the mix of things doing what needs to be done to protect our freedom," said Cathy Stump, of the Marine Corps League.

During the keynote address, Parris Island Commanding General Brig. Gen. Lori Reynolds thanked veterans in the crowd for their service and commitment.

"Thank you for the example that you set for us, who followed in your footsteps. Thank you for your sacrifice. Thank you for the missed days with your loved ones and the hardships you willingly endured," Reynolds said in her speech.

Veterans such as Ruben Cedeno said they are also thankful.

"When they say, 'thank you for your service,' it touches me. It wasn't like that before. I remember right after Vietnam we had a hard time, and nobody was grateful for what we did. It's different now," Cedeno said.

"We're grateful for all of the people that come out and gave support," said Ed Ray.

As part of the ceremony, a special wreath was placed in the cemetery to honor of all of the fallen comrades who were laid to rest in these hallowed grounds.

Friday's ceremony was especially moving as an active veteran who passed away just this week was remembered.

"We were missing a member at the ceremony - the passing of Walter Labon. [He] never missed a ceremony. He was supposed to be here today, and we missed him," Cedeno said.

But they won't be forgotten.