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Annual Memorial Day ceremony at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery brings hundreds

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SAN ANTONIO – Hundreds of people packed Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery on Monday morning. 

The annual event began at 9 a.m. with music and an opening ceremony, which wer then followed by a presentation of colors and the playing of "the Star-Spangled Banner."

New Braunfels resident Mona Lisa Whitfield honored her father, who was a Vietnam War veteran. 

"We just lost him this past February," Whitfield said.

She volunteered this weekend and helped place flags on the gravesites.

"Giving back a debt of gratitude that we can never repay and showing our ultimate respect or what we can do to respect the fallen," Whitfield said. 

This year's guest speaker was retired U.S. Army Col. Sylvia Sanchez.

Sanchez is a native of San Antonio who graduated from Brackenridge High School.

She began her military career in the Army Student Nurse Program while studying at St. Mary's School of Nursing and was accepted into the Army Nurse Corps in 1967.

She left active duty in 1977 and then joined the Texas Army National Guard. Sanchez was the first woman to serve as the state commander for the Texas Veterans of Foreign Wars.

At the ceremony, she focused on honoring the fallen and embracing the feeling of honor and pride. 

"People around the world were able to gain freedom from oppression, from dictatorship, and just to get their country back in shape," Sanchez said of the efforts made by those being honored.