SATSUMA, Ala. (WALA) - From sea to shining sea, the nation paid tribute to members of the armed services on Monday but for one local woman, the Veterans Day services help her keep her son's memory alive.
Melanie Miller was among those in the crowd for Satsuma's annual Veterans Day celebration.
She is someone who knows all about the sacrifice associated with serving this country. More than a year ago, Miller's 22-year-old son, Cpl. Joseph Whitehead died in Afghanistan.
Family members said the marine was killed in action when he stepped on an improvised explosive device, or IED, in January of 2011.
Miller said ceremonies like this one keep her son's memory alive.
"If you ever lose a child you don't want people to forget him, especially the way he passed," said Miller. "Every time they remember my child it helps me keep living."
Miller said Monday's service took her breath away. The sheer volume of people who turned out to say thank you was specifically startling to her.
She said, to her, this day is about gratitude to all veterans, regardless of their duty.
"Whether they went to war or not. They gave their life when they signed up for duty whether they came home or not," Miller said. "Thank all of them."
Miller said her son always wore a smile and had always wanted to be a Marine. Now, he will live on as one forever, with his name etched into stone at this memorial for the fallen of Satsuma.
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