GRAND LEDGE, Mich. (WLNS) — War is something that many of us only see in news headlines, but this Memorial Day weekend, we honor those who saw it in person.

“It was very scary, but somebody’s got to do it,” said Vietnam Era veteran, James Voltattorni.

Voltattorni served from 1972 to 1974 and said he was supposed to go to Vietnam once he was drafted. Instead, he was able to serve his two years in Europe, stationed in Germany.

He is a part of the American Legion Cole Briggs Post 48 and Voltattorni said events like the annual Memorial Day Parade help bring the community together.

“You could have a difference in opinion, but still be friends,” he said. “I mean that’s what America is all about.”

Elizabeth Kunc, is a longtime resident of Grand Ledge and proud mother of a member of the drumline, in the Grand Ledge High School Marching Band.

Kunc said, throughout the years the meaning of Memorial Day has changed for her.

“Memorial Day used to mean that I got an extra day off,” she said. “But what it really means is just remembering sacrifices that people make that I can’t even conceive of making, to be brave enough, to go fight for our country, to represent our country.”

Kunc also said she was proud to see her daughter marching in the parade and to see people of all ages lining the streets.

“It’s a real honor to be here to support them and to just say how proud I am to be an America,” she said.

She said that even when Memorial Day weekend is over, people should honor veterans and those who passed serving every day.

“Sometimes I’ll see people out on the street in their uniforms and I’ll just say thank you because I think it’s easy to forget, those kinds of sacrifices,” Kunc said.

And when asked if he had anything else to say, Voltattorni said three simple words.

“God bless America,” he said.