NEW ORLEANS -- The Memorial Day ceremony at the National World War II Museum began with a moment of prayer and presentation of the flag.
Dozens of families came to pay their respects to the fallen men and women in the armed services and those who are in war zones today.
"We should never forget this day because this is a day we remember those who gave up their lives so we could enjoy the freedoms we have. Enjoy the day but at the same time don't forget what this day really means," said Bill Detweiler, a consultant with the WW II Museum.
Memorial Day, originally known as "Decoration Day," means so much more for World War II veteran Bennie Robichaux. As part of a dying generation of vets, he said visiting the museum conjures memories he will never forget.
“It brought back so many memories. I enlisted at 17 early in the morning and was on a train at 10 o'clock that night,” he said, laughing.
The event lasted for an hour before taking a break for the afternoon.
As the ceremony concluded, that somber moment of remembrance filled the room when Military Taps was played.
“The message today is memorial has become a bit of a holiday for people," said Lt. Gen. Richard P. Mills of the U.S. Marine Corp. "It is a day to go shopping, go to the beach, have barbecues and we have lost the real meaning. This day gives us a moment to stop and to reflect on those who made our good lives possible.”
Bennie Robichaux added, “It is so hard to say just how far you have to reach down in your soul just to get a good description of what this day is all about. It really is about honoring the fallen first."
And honoring what president Abraham Lincoln called "the last full measure of devotion to the service of the nation."