WEST ASHLEY, S.C. (WCBD) – Our nation’s fallen heroes were honored during a Memorial Day event in West Ashley on Monday.

The American Legion Post 179 held its annual Memorial Day Program at Live Oak Memorial Gardens, where hundreds of service members are buried. American flags were placed at their grave sites over the weekend.

“These people gave their lives to defend this country and to keep us free. And they are the ones that should be honored,” said James Gallagher, a U.S. Navy Veteran.

The ceremony was led by Commander John Coy who represents Post 179. He said, for the first time, the Transportation Security Agency Color Guard conducted the Presentation of the Colors.

Commander Coy told News 2 what Memorial Day means to him.

“Being a veteran myself, I’ve had friends, family members that have died in combat. And it has a real good meaning for me, always, always will,” the commander said.

Later in the program, there was a Placing of the Wreaths, which each represented a different branch of the U.S. Military.

“Memorial Day to me, it’s a remembrance of our fallen comrades and its very significant because of my father. My father served in World War II,” said Jim Kvam, who is the Department Commander for South Carolina.

Lieutenant Colonel Larry Dandridge was this year’s keynote speaker. He delivered remarks in front of veterans, family members and those who were simply there to show their respect. U.S. Air Force Veteran Susan Michele Leith proudly wore her “lady vet” vest.

“It will be our 75th anniversary this year in a couple of weeks, where women were allowed to serve in the military,” Leith told News 2.

Commander Coy said its important to keep in mind Memorial Day is not a happy day, but instead a day of remembrance.