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Dozens attend Florence National Cemetery Memorial Day Ceremony: 'He died for something'

Dozens of people honored fallen soldiers at the Pee Dee at the Florence National Cemetery’s Memorial Day Ceremony Monday.

Dozens of people honored fallen soldiers in the Pee Dee at the Florence National Cemetery’s Memorial Day Ceremony Monday.

Gold Star families, like the Criss family, were honored.

Just four days after he turned 23, Juan Lopez died for his country.

"This wasn’t somebody that died for nothing. He died for something," Lopez's dad, Timothy Criss, said.

Lopez died in August 2007.

"They went out for patrol and this particular day they got ambushed and a grenade, I mean a bomb, up under the truck exploded," Criss said.

He was a corporal in the Army and fought in Iraq.

"He wanted to go into the military. He wanted to go into the Army and this is something that he chose," Criss said.

It’s heroes like Lopez the Florence National Cemetery remembers on Memorial Day.

Brigadier General James H. Raymer, chief of staff of the U.S. Army Central Command, was the event's speaker.

"We say thank you for the freedom you have given us. We are here because of you," Raymer said.

No matter how or when they died they served for all of us

"[Lopez] is our hero. They’re all our heroes," Bertha Gamble, Lopez's grandmother, said.

Their families want them to be remembered every day.

"He died for his country and the work that he did was to better his country," Gamble said.

There were also reenactors wearing war-period clothing. It was a part of the Florence National Cemetery’s Living History program.

"Men and women have been sacrificing their lives for this country since the very earliest days of our founding and anyway and anything we can do to honor these men and women, we're gonna do it," re-enactor Mike Short said.

About 13,000 men and women are buried at the cemetery.

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