Community honors fallen soldiers at Mound City National Cemetery - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Community honors fallen soldiers at Mound City National Cemetery

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MOUND CITY -- Dozens of volunteers gathered at Mound City National Cemetery to place 9,000 flags throughout the cemetery a few days before Memorial Day.

Organizers called a special tribute to those who served the country. Volunteers stressed the importance of getting children involved. 

"If we don't start teaching our youth now at younger ages, then they won't grow up to honor our veterans, and our veterans and active duty need the utmost respect," said Andrea Poole, an American Heritage Girls Troop Coordinator.

Everyone from children to veterans wounded in combat came out to honor fallen soldiers. 

Retired Navy Seal Elliot Miller, originally from Mounds, knows firsthand what it feels like to lose people close to him.

"I had gotten blown up over in Iraq in '06 by an IED that's taken the lives of at least three other Iraqi soldiers that I have been fighting alongside with," Elliot said.

As a result, Miller cannot speak the way he once did and he had one of his legs amputated. He uses an iPad to communicate by typing in responses to be spoken out loud.

His mother, Sherry Miller, said none of that stops him from being the man he is today.

"Elliot has always been a very big believer in our country and fighting for our country," Sherry said.

Elliot, his mother and dozens of volunteers placed flags on every grave at Mound City National Cemetery, where servicemen and women are buried.

"We put a strong emphasis on honoring our military, both active duty and those who have already passed away in service," Volunteer Poole said.

For veterans like Elliot, he said he's just doing his job and plans to continue honoring his fellow veterans, those who are still with us and no longer here.

"If I were to have to say anything about being here today, I would probably have to just say thanks for the opportunity to speak here on behalf of every other veteran," Miller said.

Retired Navy Seal Elliot Miller will share a message as the keynote speaker this Saturday at the Mound City National Cemetery Memorial Day program starting at 10 a.m. Then, he'll head home to San Diego to reunite with his wife and two boys.

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