HARKER HEIGHTS — The City of Harker Heights hosted events to commemorate and memorialize fallen service members May 25.

Saturday’s affairs began with a parade down Knights Way, which was led by the 1st Cavalry Division Horse Cavalry Detachment and Band, followed by a ceremony dedicated to U.S. military members who died while serving.

Pat Christ, past state council president of the Military Officers Association of America, said just like every other year the city has hosted Memorial Day weekend events, organizers mull how to go about it.

“Every year, we go through a sort of a debate. How are we going to celebrate Memorial Day?,” Christ said. “We started with a parade this morning. That’s sort of the start of summer. The summer is that new birth. For the kids, school’s out. For the parents, it’s a long hot summer, particularly here in Texas. But, that’s why we do it. This is the ceremony that we hold to really try and honor those who have given their lives.”

During the ceremony, a wreath was laid to honor the fallen, followed by a gun salute and the playing of “Taps.”

Tracy Green, commander, CenTex Chapter 1876 if the Military Order of the Purple Heart, urged everyone in attendance to take time to reflect on what America’s heroes have done for their country.

“Today is the time to remember our fallen comrades. It is important to remember the ones who gave their lives. Remember your battles and their last battle cries,” Green said. “Remember the blood they shed for you. Remember the things that many people will not do.”

Col. Jonathan Byrom, commander, 3rd Cavalry Regiment, touched on the origins of Memorial Day, when it was previously referred to as Decoration Day, which originally a day meant to decorate the graves of Civil War fallen. He also said the weekend should be a celebration, not only for those who sacrificed their lives for the U.S., but is also a time to celebrate with loved ones.

“This was not a day to commemorate war. It was a day to celebrate, to decorate and honor the lives sacrificed in military service,” Byrom said. “So, in America, Memorial Day has evolved, has become so much more than a day to mourn our service members. It’s a day that honors and celebrates life and service.”

Byrom went on to say it is truly American for Family and friends to gather as a community during this holiday.

“From backyard barbecues to parades, these are not quiet, somber events … they’re true decorations of pride …” Byrom noted. “This was as American as it gets this morning in a small town.”

Byrom closed out his remarks by saying the day’s events is a great way for all to remember and reflect on Memorial Day.

“Today’s ceremony is our way of gracing the memory and service of our nation’s military men and women with honor,” he said. “We mustn’t forget that a price was paid for our freedom and I believe it is fitting for us to recognize that freedom today. Our celebration is what truly makes us American.”