By Alicia Roberts

PENNSAUKEN, N.J. (CBS) — Communities across the Philadelphia area are remembering fallen soldiers and those who served this Memorial Day weekend. With the bagpipes playing and a giant American flag as the backdrop, dozens gathered Sunday afternoon at Liberty Park in Pennsauken to pause to honor those who died protecting our nation. 

Dozens Gather At Liberty Park In Pennsauken To Honor Fallen Soldiers, Service Members Ahead Of Memorial Day

“Those brave men and women who gave their lives in defense of their country,” one woman said. 

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City officials joined first responders along with veterans from several VFW posts.

“I did a tour for enduring freedom and I was also in Iraqi freedom,” one man said. 

“I enlisted back in ’93 in the Air Force and have been overseas eight times,” Michael Scully, who’s retired from the Air Force, said.

During the laying of the wreaths, names of residents lost in battle were etched into an exterior of a monument.

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“We mourn their loss because it’s thanks to them that we are now enjoying our freedom,” Jessica Raffeh, the mayor of Pennsauken, said. 

Members of Pennsauken High School’s Air Force Jr. ROTC performed the posting of the colors. 

Cadet Iyakiel Polanco says being among so many who served inspires him.

Dozens Gather At Liberty Park In Pennsauken To Honor Fallen Soldiers, Service Members Ahead Of Memorial Day

“They have done so much for our country, I can’t even thank them enough for everything they do,” Polanco said. 

But for those who know the sacrifice wearing the uniform requires,  a simple “thank you,” especially on Memorial Day, means everything.

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 “Someone just walks up to you and says, ‘Thank you for your service’ and your whole day changes and it’s like, ‘Wow thank you for appreciating what we do,'” Scully said. 

Alicia Roberts