Ceremony at Saratoga National Cemetery honors those killed in action

SCHUYLERVILLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Many families did not spend Memorial Day at a BBQ. Rather, they remembered those whose lives were lost serving their country.

“Every minute of every hour of every day, Americans enjoy the blessings of a free nation.”

That freedom comes with a hefty price, a price paid by mothers like Karen McKenna.

“It shouldn’t be ‘Happy Memorial Day,’ okay. It’s a day to remember, and I never forget him.”

Never forgetting her son and his sense of humor and sense of duty to our country. Marine Captain John McKenna was killed in action while serving in Iraq in 2006. He lost his life while trying to save his fellow brother.

“John was killed by a sniper while trying to rescue him, but that’s the way John was. He would have done it no matter where he was.”

Cpt. McKenna is one of more than 11,000 laid to rest at Saratoga National Cemetery. The meaning of Memorial Day was not lost on young students from Schuylerville Elementary School.

“I help place flags on the soldiers’ graves in the cemetery on Memorial Day, lay wreaths at Christmas time, and I often come to visit the graves of my grandfather and uncle,” Tucker Durr said.

For 94-year-old World War II veteran and former prisoner of war Harold Perkins, of Clifton Park, the reason why he came rain or shine on Monday brought him to tears.

“I don’t want to forget them, and they don’t forget me,” he said.

“Since our nation’s founding, more than 1 million lives have been laid upon the altar of freedom.”

A price that finds some comfort in knowing those lost are honored.

“It’s good to see so many people come despite the rain and to remember and know that they honor his sacrifice,” McKenna said.

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