Attendees formed a sea of red, white and blue clothing and wore little blue paper forget-me-nots pinned to their shirts.
Chris Froeschner, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and current vice president of The United Service Organization of North Carolina, spoke at the event about the origins and significance of the holiday.
He said Memorial Day was originally created to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War and was later extended to honor all Americans who died in military service.
Jim Abrahamson, a Carolina Meadows resident, spoke about the incredibly high death toll that came with the Civil War — about 620,000 American soldiers died from combat, accident, starvation and disease.
“This was the heavy, heavy price,” Abrahamson said.
Froeschner said many Americans don’t realize what Memorial Day is really about.
“Memorial Day, despite what you see with all the sales on TV and everyone wanting to thank the veterans, is a day of remembrance of people who died while serving in our country’s armed forces,” he said.
John Geis, a Carolina Meadows resident, was a deep sea diver in the U.S. Military from 1953-55 during the Korean War. He said it’s important to remember that we celebrate Memorial Day for a different reason than we celebrate Veterans Day.