Updated:ROSWELL, Ga. —
People are gathering throughout metro Atlanta to honor fallen military service members on Memorial Day.
The largest Memorial Day ceremony in Georgia is held at Roswell City Hall. The event begins with a military ceremony, including a 21-gun salute, the laying of the wreath and a speech by World War II veteran Charles G. Shepherd Jr.
The annual event draws up to 7,000 people from across the state. Those in attendance said it's the least they could do to pay tribute to the armed services.
"The returning from Vietnam were spit on and so forth, they weren't honored. People didn't care about them and consequently this is different now, we do care," said veteran Carol Ownes.
"We should always remember it, not only for today but every day of our lives, those who have gone and gave the greatest sacrifice so that we have our freedoms on a day-to-day basis," added veteran Jerry Davis.
Attendees also enjoyed picnicking on the grounds and live music.
In Gainesville, Green Street was shut down until 12:30 p.m. for the 10th annual Memorial Day parade. Cecil Boswell, a World War II veteran led the parade wearing the same uniform he wore when he was discharged from the Army.
Monday evening there will be a dedication of the Atlanta History Center's redone Veterans Park. Soil from major battlefields will be scattered by veterans around the park's flagpole.
The holiday weekend also marked the traditional start of the U.S. vacation season. AAA, one of the nation's largest leisure travel agencies, expected 31.2 million Americans to hit the road over the weekend, virtually the same number as last year. Gas prices were about the same as last year, up 1 cent to a national average of $3.65 a gallon Friday.
Watch Channel 2 Action News for complete coverage of all of Monday's services.