WACO, Texas (FOX 44) – The true meaning of Memorial Day can often be overlooked. However, Wacoans made sure to observe the day the way it was intended.

Community members, leaders and veterans gathered at the Doris Miller Memorial on Monday morning to honor those who lost their lives serving.

City leaders reminded everyone just how important it is to take the time to remember and say thank you.

Jennifer Dawson’s husband, Craig, did tours in Iraq and Desert Storm before he passed away two years ago.

“He was helping the King’s Army. He was he was always in the fight. Always in the in the midst of everything to support anybody and everybody,” Dawson said. “He would take the shirt off his back to take care of anybody,” Dawson said.

Dawson says seeing people taking the time to gather together and support veterans is something you don’t see as much anymore.

“It’s really great that people took the time to actually come here and show support,” Dawson said.

Dawson says Memorial Day is about remembering those who have served and lost their lives – but also about the loved ones left behind.

“Everybody goes, ‘I’m just too busy to go,'” Dawson said. “But when you take the time out of your day, whether you’re just standing here listening or you’re speaking, it means a lot. It warms the heart. It really, truly knows that I’m not alone in this.”

Bettie Beard helped organize the Memorial Day ceremony, and what she sees in Monday’s gathering is years of progress and togetherness.

“This was our park, and it was a segregated park,” Beard said. “But now, look at us. Look at this. This is so much beauty.”

Beard says we must never forget the people who came before us to give us what we have today.

“No matter how much time passes, that is something that’s always going to be a part of us,” Beard said.

Dawson wants everyone to know how important life insurance is, because that is something she and her husband did not talk about. She encourages people to reach out to PHP for help.