Hundreds gathered at the entrance to Tuscaloosa's Veterans Memorial Park Monday morning to honor those who lost their lives serving in the United States military.

The event, hosted by Tuscaloosa County Park and Recreation Authority, featured military leaders paying tribute to all who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the country.

Retired Air Force Col. Duane Lamb, the Chairman of the Veterans Memorial Park Association, served as the master of ceremonies for the event.

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After a few remarks and a presentation of colors by local Tuscaloosa, Aliceville, and Brookwood Boy Scout Troops, Lamb introduced the keynote speaker, Brigadier General Jerry C. McAbee, retired from the United States Marine Corps.

(Noah Lueker, Townsquare Media)

"Those Americans who have died in performance of their military duties, those who have suffered crippling and disfiguring wounds, and those still missing reminds us that freedom is never free," McAbee said. "The freedoms we enjoy today have been purchased in blood, and must be maintained by resolute men and women who spill their blood to keep us free."

His speech was followed with an Armed Forced Medley and a traditional 21 gun salute by the Tuscaloosa County American Legion Honor Guard Post 123.

The ceremony concluded with Taps and the ringing of a bell by CDR Lee Hallman, retired from the U.S. Navy, to honor those who lost their lives serving in each branch.

(Noah Lueker, Townsquare Media)
(Noah Lueker, Townsquare Media)

After the ceremony, members of the Tuscaloosa Military Order of the Purple Heart laid a wreath in remembrance at the Military Order of the Purple Heart Monument.

Attendees also had the chance to receive a COVID-19 vaccine -- any veterans, caregivers of veterans and anyone in the audience could receive a dose from the Tuscaloosa VA's Dual-Use vehicle.

The full livestream can be found here:

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