WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Hundreds gathered Monday on the deck of the Battleship North Carolina to remember those have served and died for their country.
Like those in recent years, this Memorial Day event took place while the United States is at war, adding meaning to the memories of the men and women who paid the ultimate price for our freedom.
The ceremony attracted visitors of all ages and all walks of life - all there to honor those who have served or are serving our country.
"It feels good, knowing they're willing to fight for us," said 8-year-old Nicky Corrente whose friend's father is in the military.
Corrente said he has wanted to join the service since he was 4 years old, and he's not particular about his choice right now. He said he'd join the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or the Coast Guard.
WWII veteran Hugh MacRae said he is thrilled when young people show excitement about serving their country.
"Experience in the service is very valuable and most people who've served after they come out say they wouldn't have missed it for anything or they wouldn't take a million dollars for the training," said MacRae. "It's a wonderful experience."
"It really connects you to our past, because all the way back to the revolutionary war when we fought for our very freedom," said Lt. General Gary North. "We've had families of tradition who have served many generations."
The Battleship North Carolina holds a special meaning for veterans - it is dedicated to the 10,000 North Carolinians who died during WWII.