Honoring the fallen in Tri-Cities on Memorial Day - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Honoring the fallen in Tri-Cities on Memorial Day

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KENNEWICK, WA - Memorial Day is often met with celebrations and fun with friends and family, but here in the Tri-Cities, many people took the time to remember what this day is really all about. Reporter Kristina Shalhoup went to a ceremony at Desert Lawn Memorial Gardens this morning, and saw why the event was so important to the people who attended.

This Memorial Day, veterans and non-veterans alike came together with songs, speeches, and words of remembrance in honor of our fallen soldiers.

"You see it with traditional events like today when you see WWII veterans standing up and saluting the flag, and Korean War veterans," said Lieutenant Colonel Matt Boehnke, a U.S. Army Veteran. "We're just here to carry the torch and pass it on to next generations."

For veterans like Lt. Col. Boehnke...

"I retired about six years ago from the U.S. Army. I flew helicopters, jumped out of airplanes, for 21 and a half years."

...Today was a chance to address the community, and come face-to-face with families whose members have given the ultimate sacrifice.

"Meeting the gold star families, people who have lost loved ones."

But it was also an opportunity for Lt. Col. Boehnke to work on a problem that's been troubling him.

"Take a step back," he said. "Stop looking at the materialistic things. Look at our traditions, and what really a great country that we have."

Today, and every day, Lt. Col. Boehnke is proud of the country he served.

"We always have that fortitude, that passion, that motivation that says we want to defend our country, and we want to do it the best we possibly can."

And he wants to make sure that everyone else is proud too.