MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – On Memorial Day, Minnesotans stopped to remember their relatives, friends and neighbors who died risking everything for our freedom.

Thousands turned out for the yearly services at Fort Snelling National Cemetery.

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With songs and speeches, they paid tribute to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

Old glory waved proudly over a sea of white marble headstones, the final resting place for fallen heroes.

Patriotic songs lifted the spirits of those in attendance. Most listened while others made their way through the maze of graves to lay flowers.

“The soldier’s creed is to leave no fallen soldier behind, and we should never leave our veterans behind,” said Sen. Amy Klobuchar during a ceremony.

One group of combat vets marched to make sure no one is left behind.

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“It’s all about standing shoulder to shoulder at this point and holding each other up and making sure we are all there for each other,” said veteran Landon Nordby.

Operation 23 to Zero is dedicated to veterans who do make it home but die by their own hand when they return.

Some 23 veterans commit suicide each day.

“The troops who come home and commit suicide, I don’t see that any different than I do a combat wound and they die from infection back here in the hospital,” said veteran Landon Steele. “It’s a wound inside and it never healed and it took its toll.”

On this day, all are remembered as heroes and all have the love and support of a grateful country.

Operation 23 to Zero works with several veteran and family resource groups to help get vets the help they need.

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To learn more about Operation 23 to Zero, click here.

Reg Chapman