Wilmington National Cemetery, NC – Shaded by the cemetery's massive live oaks, the crowd sang the national anthem before taking their seats in rows of folding chairs between the headstones. The ceremony included a reading of the names of local veterans who died in the past year and the laying of wreaths around the central flagpole. World War Two veteran E.L. Matthews served in the Army Corps of Engineers and said the cemetery has always been a part of his life.
"As a kid, I used to come up here to the cemetery, and I didn't know what it was at the time. But now I do, and it's just, I sit out here and I get choked up thinking about it, all the people who've served the country and who've died. It's just a great day to come out here."
More than 5,000 veterans are buried at Wilmington National Cemetery, representing American conflicts from the Civil War through the current occupation of Iraq.