Emotional Memorial Day ceremony held in San Jose

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- The stories of sacrifice and valor are at the very heart of Memorial Day. That's why hundreds turned out for ceremonies on Monday in San Jose.

It's a time to remember, but even after decades, some wounds never truly heal.

The sea of flags on each headstone at Oak Hill Cemetery is the work of 500 Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts who came out on Saturday to place them. This 99th annual observance attracted people from as early as World War II but as recently as Afghanistan and Iraq -- a truly emotional time.

This is a day to remember those who lived through war and to remember those who did not.

This was San Jose's 99th annual gathering of veterans and their descendants to remember those who made a sacrifice for freedom.

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"I'm reminded of those families and their loved ones didn't have a chance to be fathers and grandfathers, to be mothers and grandmothers and what they sacrificed. And this country is indebted to all of you," retired U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. James Livingston said.

Time doesn't erase the intensity of battle and surviving the bloody landing in Normandy, even at age 95. "I get sentimental when I lost my sergeant right next to me, and it brings back a lot of memories. It's not a celebration for me. It's the memory of people that didn't come back," World War II veteran Ysidor Sanchez said.

Memorial Day is solemn to most, but even to retired Maj. Livingston, one of the most decorated Marines in the corps' history, the salutation "Happy Memorial Day" is appropriate.

"We should enjoy because we live in America. That's what should make it happy. It should be happy because these people give us a chance to live here and I think that's where the happiness should be noted, OK," Livingston said.

Emotions ran deep at this ceremony. There are 14,000 veterans who rest at San Jose's Oak Hill Cemetery.

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