Memorial Day in the Tennessee Valley

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Memorial Day 2012, it's a day to honor those who fought and died to give us our freedoms.

Today, flags were lowered to half staff all over the country, including the new Veteran's Memorial in downtown Huntsville. Dozens of people braved the heat to remember what the holiday is all about and watch Gold Star and Blue Star family members lay wreaths at the Veteran's Memorial.          

Early this morning, runners took to the street for the 32nd annual Cotton Row Run. Thousands of people from all over the world came to Huntsville for today's race. The event included a 5K, 10K, and a one mile race. The fastest male and female were both from Kenya, Julius Koskei and Lydia Kosgei. They said the two biggest challenges were the heat and a big hill. The Cotton Row Run concluded with a Fallen Officers Memorial Walk.

People also gathered in Huntsville at Maple Hill Cemetery for a ceremony that included a variety of tributes to fallen service members, including songs, prayers, and a rifle salute.  Major General Jim Rogers attended the ceremony and explains the importance for a heavily military community like Huntsville, "The community gets to come back together and see all of us as one, recognizing the loss of soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines.  And that's huge."

In Decatur, a crowd gathered at Roselawn Cemetery this morning to honor men and women who died serving in the U.S. Military and veterans who have passed away over the last year. 

Several cities in the Shoals honored our service men and women. In Florence, a crowd gathered at Veteran's Park. Dozens of people came out to remember those members of their community they had lost, along with the countless others in the military who have lost their lives.

In Marshall County, fallen military members were honored at a ceremony in front of the Marshall County Courthouse. More than 200 men from Marshall County have died in action since World War I, including two during Operation Iraqi Freedom.    

WHNT News 19 will have more coverage of the Tennessee Valley's Memorial Day ceremonies and events tonight.

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