Mothers of fallen soldiers honored at Liberty Memorial

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Memorial Day was celebrated across Kansas City on Monday, and one of the largest gatherings was at Liberty Memorial Park.

The rain forced the events to be moved inside, but hundreds of people braved the rain to honor fallen soldiers and their families.

Debbie Collins talked with 41 Action News about her son, Cale Miller.

"Being the center of attention would have not pleased him, and I'm sure that's why it rained today," she said, finding a way to laugh while talking about the 23-year-old.

Cale, who grew up in Olathe and graduated from Olathe Northwest High School, died last year from an improvised explosive device while in Afghanistan.

Collins and other moms were honored with a Gold Star at the ceremony.

"I fold two of these every day," said First Sergeant Randy Sandy who fought in Vietnam. He serves on the Permanent Memorial Day Committee and was proud to help out with the service today.

"Someone's got to do it," Sandy said. "It is just the way I was brought up you know."

Mayor Sly James and other dignitaries also spoke inspiring those who still serve.

"Many of you here have lost. Many of you here have been blessed with return," said James.

"Don't ever let anyone forget. Our younger generations need to know what's going on," said Travis Morris, a Marine Sergeant. "I had three deployments to Iraq. I lost a friend in 2008 on November 14 to an IED."

"The real reason I come down here is to share stories and interact with some of the elder guys who served," said Amos Bechthold, a Warrant Officer in the U.S. Army.

Collins asked that Americans remember why they're celebrating Memorial Day.

"Have your barbecues, have fun, spend great quality time with your family, but at the same time don't forget those who sacrificed," she said.

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