memorial day

Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

As rain fell over Central Texas, people gathered to remember those who have died in war.

At the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery in Killeen, near Fort Hood, retired Command Sgt. Major Elijah King, Jr. stopped to put flags and flowers by a memorial to soldiers in his brigade who died in Iraq during the first deployment.

"It’s important for Americans to remember those who have given their lives, who paid the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms that we enjoyed," King said. "If you haven’t served it’s difficult to understand."

(This post was last updated at 2:17 p.m. ET.)

Under the cover of darkness and on the eve of Memorial Day, President Obama landed at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan for an unannounced visit with U.S. troops.

After a concert from country music star Brad Paisley, Obama spoke before a rally of about 3,000 American troops. Currently, there are 32,000 Americans currently serving in Afghanistan.

Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

Over a thousand Central Texans gathered on Monday to honor local men and women who lost their lives in service to the U.S. at the Georgetown-Williamson County Veterans Memorial in the Sun City Community Center.

At the memorial, the Texas Army National Guard’s 36th Infantry Division Band played for residents and veterans, with Sergeant Major of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III attending the ceremony as a special guest.

Joy Diaz for KUT News

Every Memorial Day we remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of duty.

But Rick Smith doesn’t wait on any specific day of the year. He has made it his mission in life to honor the U.S. flag every morning and night – and plans on doing so for the rest of his life.

flickr.com/branditressler

Most City of Austin offices are closed for Memorial Day – that includes libraries, museums and senior centers. But city pools will be open – along with city tennis centers and golf courses.

Other recreational activities – including the Zilker Botanical Garden and the Austin Nature and Science Center are also open.

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