JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Across the region, ceremonies honoring our nation’s veterans took place on Monday.

One of those ceremonies happened on the hallowed grounds of the Mountain Home National Cemetery on the VA campus, where 18,000 plots hold just a fraction of our nation’s heroes.

Monday morning, a large crowd met beneath the flag post for a special wreath-laying ceremony and dedication. Among that crowd were the Zuckers, who told News Channel 11 that Memorial Day holds special meaning in their hearts.

“It’s just patriotism, thankful for a country where we are free, and the people that have made it free. We forget the sacrifice that they have made, and we really respect that and need to get back to American values,” said Johnson City resident, Jeanne Zucker. “We both have fathers that served in the military. Mine is deceased, his is still alive, but we just wanted to pay respects and thank all the people who have served.”

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, that’s what our servicemen and women continue to fight for today, just like those who served before them. The word ‘sacrifice’ echoed across the region this Memorial Day.

“It is dedicated to all those who gave their lives securing our freedom and defending our freedom in the century since,” said the Director of Mountain Home VA Medical Center, Dean Borsos.

Borsos also highlighted the pain some families feel on this day. “To everyone who is remembering a loved one, I wish you comfort, strength and peace of mind, and I offer you my heartfelt thanks,” he said.

This year’s ceremony drew a larger crowd than VA staff had expected.

“It’s heartwarming to me that people took time out of their busy holiday weekend to see the importance of Memorial Day and remembering our veterans and their family members,” said Director of Mountain Home National Cemetery, Sue Nan Jehlen.

Jehlen said the wreath placed Monday will stay beneath the flag at the new annex building for the entire week.

Anyone is welcome to visit and pay their respects.

While 18,000 veterans are forever memorialized at the Mountain Home National Cemetery, officials said they have 40 acres of undeveloped land at their disposal with 10 acres currently being developed for future plots. They said they will be running for the next 100 years.