MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — On this Memorial Day, Americans across the country are honoring the men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

A memorial ceremony happens every year at Fort Snelling National Cemetery, but things look different this year.

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For the first time in 35 years, volunteers were able to raise enough money to place a flag on each one of the 200,000 graves there.

It took more than $225,000 to make this all happen. Fort Snelling is one of 135 national cemeteries operated by the VA across the country. More than 4 million veterans of every war and conflict have been laid to rest in them.

The flags restore a tradition of honoring the fallen members of our military.

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At a ceremony this morning, wreaths were presented before a short parade and ceremony.

“This is why this day is so important to all Americans. Memorial Day gives us the opportunity to stop and think about those brave Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our great nation, and pay a well-deserved tribute to those who ensured the freedoms that we now enjoy,” Minnesota National Guard Brigadier Gen. Jon Safstrom said. “It’s not just about backyard barbecues, going to the lake, the latest holiday sale or the unofficial start of summer. It is that, but it also has a far deeper meaning.”

The flags don’t stop with the headstones. Volunteers placed more flags along the Memorial Pathway here to create a wave of red, white and blue.

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At the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. this morning