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GARY NEW DULUTH - Memorial Day kicked off in Gary New Duluth with the rededication of the Veterans Memorial.Two marines stood by the memorial all night saying it was a matter of honor and respect.
The memorial was unveiled to hundreds of community members for the first time.
"It's cool we get to see all the veterans," attendee Clarissa Thompson said.
The 60-year-old memorial was refurbished with flowers, trees, a flag pole and pavers along with a brand new monument bearing more than 200 names of fallen soldiers.
"Hopefully this expanded site will help the next generation know what an impact this community has and the service to their country," 148th Air National Guard Chief Master Sgt. Mark Rukavina said.
A plaque was also added to honor Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Mike Colalillo for his bravery and service.
"He says he had to help his fellow troops,” Mike Colalillo’s daughter Michele Schneeberger said. "He did what he had to do."
The rededication ceremony also honored those who survived the battle.
"It was a good experience I learned a lot,” said McGrew. "I met a lot of people I went to a lot of places.”
"I've been to Iraq twice and it's been an interesting journey,” Air National Guard Staff Seargeant Summer Johnson said.
"The young men or woman gave everything they had," Duluth Mayor Don Ness said.
"It is the soldier not the poet who has given us freedom of speech," said Rukavina.
The event will hopefully spill into tomorrow and the days that follow.
After all, service men and women say it does not take a ceremony to honor the men and women who serve this country.
"Just say thank you,” said Johnson. "Shake their hand and say thank you."
Project coordinators say they will install more pavers and permanently etch the names into the monument this summer.