Honoring US Veterans on Memorial Day

Our very own FOX 5’s Stephanie Ramirez emceed a special Memorial Day event in the District, where veterans and civilians work side-by-side to make sure those who served are not forgotten.  

For this story, Stephanie takes us to Southeast DC, where U.S. Army and Marine Corps Veteran Thomas Garrett took time on this Memorial, to share how own service changed his life.

"Taking things for granted. I no longer do that anymore," said Garrett, "I mean, little hours, times with family and friends with loved ones, is truly what matters."

Garrett says he was a teen when he signed up for the military, during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm.

On the holiday when we remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice, Garrett is remembering his two friends, who died in February 1991, during the Gulf War.

"Memorial Day means freedom for me, and the price paid for it," he said at the podium.

Garrett went on to say, "… the freedom and the sacrifices that it takes. I mean it is, I was 18, and I really didn’t know much about what it really took. Yeah, you sign up for it for the college money, and you know, you’re doing the service and the duty itself, but you don’t know that when the time calls, and you’re ready to go. You’re going … we were in combat for 100 hours, and it was work."

Honoring his friends and their sacrifices, Garret still serves to this day, now working with U.S. VETS. It’s a non-profit organization that fights to keep Veterans off the streets and out of being homeless. They provide housing, counseling, and career development, with a location in Southeast, D.C.

"By the time they leave, they’re really … they’re rebuilt. They have a real central purpose that’s redefined," he said, proudly.

FOX is a proud sponsor of U.S. VETS and was also there Monday, heeding the call to act. They served meals to U.S. VETS Veterans, which is serving up a plate of love in most homes.

It was also a chance to speak with different veterans – and talk with them about the service members they may be honoring this holiday.

The gathering -- keeping those unsung heroes’ memories alive on this Memorial Day.