(NewsNation) — For America’s veterans, Memorial Day offers an opportunity to remember the fallen.
“Memorial Day for me personally is a soulful event for the six guys that we lost over in Iraq. Every day, I think about them,” said Lynn Rolf, a veteran who marked the holiday weekend by attending an event on the National Mall.
This year’s Memorial Day comes just months after the U.S. withdrawal in Afghanistan, which marked the end of America’s longest war.
But while American boots are no longer on the ground in Afghanistan, the wounds of the war remain.
Rolf, who served as a military adviser in Afghanistan, watched the scenes of chaos in the country as U.S. troops departed.
“You can’t help but be a little upset. And hurt,” he said of the aftermath.
Those who never came back from America’s wars weigh heavily on Rolf’s mind: “Every day I think about them. Especially around this time, I make sure to reach out to the family members,” he said.
This year, the day also comes as war continues to rage in eastern Europe. Veterans said Sunday that Memorial Day offers valuable lessons.
“There’s so many of us that are so fortunate,” said Joe Ventre, a veteran who served in the Marines. “We just need to be more respectful of each other and thankful for what we have in this country.”