WASHINGTON - Memorial Day kicks off the unofficial start to summer, with many Americans taking the chance to travel and spend time with friends and family.
However, the holiday’s true meaning gives veterans and people around the country an opportunity to mourn those who have died in the line of duty.
This Memorial Day weekend service members, past and present, remember those we have lost.
"Freedom is not free. Freedom requires a cost and sometimes that costs is ultimately a veteran's life," said Clifton Lewis, Executive Director of U.S Vets Washington, D. C.
U.S. Vets, an organization that aims to end veteran homelessness, holding it’s first ceremony in several years due to the pandemic to honor the sacrifices made by our fallen.
"A lot of them will never get a chance to see their families or return home and we want to tell them and tell their families we appreciate their sacrifice," said Lewis.
FOX is a proud sponsor of the organization, which provides mental and clinical health services, outreach, and transitional housing to help those vets who have fallen on hard times transition back into civilian life.
The site in D.C has provided more than 11,000 veterans a place to sleep, 13,000 meals and more than 100 job placements.
They are not only serving those in the nation’s capital. They’ve provided nearly four hundred thousand vets with a bed and a warm meal nationally.
"That’s the key. Get all the resources that they need to remain independent because we don’t want them to recycle back into homelessness," Lewis said.
For the veterans who are currently utilizing the program in Washington, many have a list of names that they think of on Memorial Day.
"Keeping their memories alive, we become part of them in a way you know, moments that you shared with them, certainly the effect they have on your life," said Army veteran, Anthony Matlock.
"Being here with my fellow veterans, that’s where it rings for me most. Irrespective of branches we all have a similar experience," said Kevin Brown, a Navy veteran.
"When you sign your name on that dotted line you never know what’s going to happen," added Army vet, Brian Cole.
While many of those attending the ceremony are working to provide a new and better life for themselves, they’re dedicated to never forgetting those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for the cost of our freedom.
"We haven’t forgotten them you understand, we haven’t forgotten them either, they were our brothers in arms," said Matlock.
FOX has supported U.S. Vets’ initiatives across the country for the past several years, including the 'Make Camo Your Cause’ campaign, which will kick off again this November.