NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — This Memorial Day, hundreds gathered in North Little Rock at the Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery to pay their respects to the fallen.
Among them was Michael Rogers, a Vietnam veteran. Though he's originally from the area, he now lives in Colorado Springs— but the connection to the cemetery runs deep.
"Here I go, here's my mother, Caroline Simpson Rogers," he said, as he walked the rows of headstones. "Dedicated their life to it, as I said it's humbling."
His father, Norman Craig Rogers is also buried there. Monday was a chance to honor and reflect, and he was not alone in doing that.
"There's a lot of people that recognize the sacrifice of the people, the men and women who are buried here at the State Veterans Cemetery," Robert Pitts said.
Pitts is also a veteran and serves in the Patriot Guard Riders, bearing the flags for the ceremony. Honor is one of the reasons he does that, and why this day means more.
"Memorial Day is all about remembering and not forgetting," Pitts said. "That's what these fallen heroes would want us to do here at the cemetery, not forget their sacrifice, not forget their service, not to forget their commitment and dedication."
Plenty aren't forgetting that dedication. Even if there isn't a family connection, Rogers explained that just being there is important.
"They're looking for names, so it's both honoring and personal," he added.
He explained that what is most impressive is that they're all there for the same reason.
Honoring, remembering, and reflecting.
He said it doesn't matter where those buried here came from— they're heroes all the same.
"Somebody said, what's the greatest lesson I learned from Vietnam?'" Rogers said. "Not to judge my fellow soldiers, Airmen, and Marines and Navy by where they came from, but who they are."