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      Fallen heroes honored in Grand Strand Memorial Day services

      Americans paused on Memorial Day to pay tribute to those men and women who died defending our country. Services were held in several locations around the Grand Strand.

      Veterans from all branches of the military were among those who gathered at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center plaza to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

      A bell tolled at the service for those local veterans who have died over the past year, while those who have served the nation in the past along with others still serving today reflected on why Americans devote this time each year to remember the fallen.

      "We need to understand and keep in mind that these people went before us and served so that we can have the liberties that we have today," said Sgt. Roger Huntington of the U.S. Army Reserves.

      Huntington said patriotism comes naturally to him, as one of his ancestors was a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

      In North Myrtle Beach, riders from the POW/MIA support group Rolling Thunder joined hundreds of others for a service of remembrance at memorial gardens.

      One veteran from Little River chapter of the Veterans of Foreign Wars spoke about how these events each Memorial Day cause him to reflect on the sacrifice of those, like a young man he knew well, who answered the nation's call.

      "I don't know why I'm still here and he's gone, but I feel that I need to let people know they didn't die in vain," said Robert Fedortion. "They died for us and for our freedom and our families."

      In Murrells Inlet, all veterans who attended the Memorial Day service at the VFW Post 10420 were given "thank you" note cards hand made by two local boys.

      "To let them know, that they aren't just going out to war, they're going for somebody who cares," said Christian Moore of Pawleys Island, one of the boys who made the cards.

      A former Air Force colonel said he's confident that those who serve in the military of the future will continue to perform their duties with bravery.

      "That's something that's in the history of our country. We may get a little disappointed sometimes in numbers and funding, but in the end the military will always come through," said Col. Charles Thrash (Ret.), US Air Force.

      Thrash said Memorial Day is a time to be thankful there are people in our country willing to die for the cause of freedom and for their brothers in arms.