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Dowagiac's Memorial Day event holds special meaning this year

DOWAGIAC, Mich. -

Every town and city in Michiana is remembering the ones who risked their lives for freedom, and our country.

Each place, having their own celebrations and ways to remember. 

In Dowagiac, not only did they take the streets with patriotic pride, but they also heard a very special speaker.  A speaker who had the incredible honor of guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Arlington National Cemetery. 

With music, laughter, and people decked out in their American spirit wear, the community of Dowagiac used Sunday as a day to remember and appreciate.

"People take for granted what we have. I guess this is a reminder of what we do have, and those who died to protect it," says Jeff Becker. 

Becker knows that, all too well. 

As a former Sentinel of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Memorial Day always means something more to him.

"It represents homage to those who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our country and our way of life," explains Becker. 

Although it's been thirty years, he says he'll never forget the immense responsibility and duty he once had. 

"It's humbling,' says Becker. "Because it's about the unknowns, and what they represent."

He, and so many other veterans, were thrilled to take part in Dowagiac's day of celebration. 

"The parade will start here and it will continue up to the cemetery. At the cemetery, it will include a more formal recognition of veterans and of what the day signifies and represents," says Dowagaic Mayor Don Lyons. 

He loves the pomp and circumstance that comes with the American tradition, but says it's really just a way to say 'thank you.'

"I think as we go about our day to day business, we may think it in our hearts," explains Lyons. "But who amongst us reaches out and says thanks to a veteran. Today is our opportunity."

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