The ceremony included remarks from guest speaker Rear Admiral Miriam Lafferty of the U.S. Coast Guard.
American Legion Post 115 brought together veterans and their families to honor and mourn U.S. military members who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.
"It's very important that we have this service and remember those that did give the ultimate sacrifice for this country," U.S. veteran Baxter Shelton, who served in the U.S. Air Force, said. "And without them, where would we be today? And no, we wouldn't be free. Freedom is not free."
Shelton was joined by his friend Grey Clarke, a U.S. Army veteran, who remembered multiple veterans who died in service including his uncle.
"He was in World War II," Clarke said. "He got shot three times."
Despite the rain, hundreds stood in silence and solidarity for those gone too soon.
1. WHAT IS THE OFFICIAL PURPOSE OF MEMORIAL DAY?
It’s a day of reflection and remembrance of those who died while serving in the U.S. military, according to the Congressional Research Service. The holiday is observed in part by the National Moment of Remembrance, which encourages all Americans to pause at 3 p.m. for a moment of silence.
2. WHAT ARE THE HOLIDAY'S ORIGINS?
The holiday stems from the American Civil War, which killed more than 600,000 service members — both Union and Confederate — between 1861 and 1865.
There’s little controversy over the first national observance of what was then called Decoration Day. It occurred May 30, 1868, after an organization of Union veterans called for decorating war graves with flowers, which were in bloom.
The practice was already widespread on a local level. Waterloo, New York, began a formal observance on May 5, 1866, and was later proclaimed to be the holiday's birthplace.
Yet Boalsburg, Pennsylvania, traced its first observance to October 1864, according to the Library of Congress. And women in some Confederate states were decorating graves before the war’s end.
But David Blight, a Yale history professor, points to May 1, 1865, when as many as 10,000 people, many of them Black, held a parade, heard speeches and dedicated the graves of Union dead in Charleston, South Carolina.
Flashpoint is a weekly in-depth look at politics in Charlotte, North Carolina, South Carolina, and beyond with host Ben Thompson. Listen to the podcast weekly.
SUBSCRIBE: Apple Podcasts || Spotify || Stitcher || Google Podcasts
Wake Up Charlotte To Go is a daily news and weather podcast you can listen to so you can start your day with the team at Wake Up Charlotte.
SUBSCRIBE: Apple Podcasts || Spotify || Stitcher || TuneIn || Google Podcasts
All of WCNC Charlotte's podcasts are free and available for both streaming and download. You can listen now on Android, iPhone, Amazon, and other internet-connected devices. Join us from North Carolina, South Carolina, or on the go anywhere.