MOUNDS, IL (KFVS) - Hundreds came out to the Wreaths Across America Program at the Mound City National Cemetery on Saturday, Dec. 16.
Before the event even began, truckloads of wreaths were d ropped off in preparation for the mass of people that would eventually lay them at the graves.
Governor of Illinois Bruce Rauner arrived and shook the hands of Veterans, their families and most people he passed by. After the ceremony started, he stood in front of the large crowd to share his words.
"Today, we remember. Today, we honor. Today, we pay respect," Rauner said. "We will never forget your loved ones. We will never forget their service and their sacrifice. They are our heroes. We are here to remember our fallen heroes."
Governor Rauner was the last person to lay the Remembrance Wreaths for all of the Illinois Veterans during the ceremony.
Afterwards, everyone took to the cemetery and opened up the boxes of wreaths to lay on the graves.
For many, this was an emotional moment as they remembered their loved ones.
"It touches you," Korean War Veterans Jim Thompson said as his eyes overflowed with tears. "I never realized all those years what they've really done for us until I have seen what was going on."
"All these graves represent each and every one and all these people's lives collectively," Boy Scout Troop 77 Chris Ballard said. "I think it's worth the time to just sit back and stand there and acknowledge that. That these people had a life and they were willing to sacrifice it so I could stand here and be a Boy Scout and help my community."
Even several groups of Girl Scouts from Southern Illinois came out to honor those who sacrificed so much.
"I don't really know anybody but I feel it's just good to honor some people that served for our country so we can be free," Girl Scout Troop 8916 Leilah Baskerville said.
The ceremony ended with Retiring of the Colors, a 21 gun salute, and TAPS.