HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Bubbling fountains and fluttering flags define the Veterans Memorial in downtown Huntsville.
In the back though, dug out like a shallow grave, there's a fountain named for the defenders of our country.
It's dotted with stone markers, each one a tiny tombstone a sad story that a newly single parent will have to find a way to explain to a child; each row a little graveyard - a group of mothers and fathers flinching at rifle salutes.
We've felt the pain of war since our nation's conception, but on Memorial Day, we're meant to face it, to stand in front of the Defender's Fountain and feel its weight.
Here in the Valley, war lives in our hearts and homes.
We spoke with several people, all of them told us they had a service member in their family.
So we gather around the memorial, counting the names under foot, placing flowers in front of flags.
Because our memories are carved in metal, and we refuse to forget.
It's why the headstones in the defenders fountain part the water that rolls downhill. They are stalwart - forever.
This memorial is how we remember, but maybe more importantly, it's how we teach.
One father escorting his son says, "There's a lot to be thankful for, and last night we were just talking about it, so I thought I'd bring him out today and show him the courage, sacrifice, and duty that many have made and continue to make so that we have days like this."