PEORIA Ill. (WMBD) — Memorial Day is “personal” for one man who served in Vietnam and saw people lose their lives.

Richard Burns, who served with the U.S. Marine Corps, said he makes it a point to honor his fallen brothers every year on Memorial Day.

“I was with a lot of guys who lost their lives and for me it’s just a personal thing to honor them. They were great young people and I like to just take the time to remember them,” said Burns who lives in Kickapoo.

Burns attended the city of Peoria’s annual Memorial Day ceremony, which was held at the Gateway Building on the riverfront. The city’s Municipal Band kicked off the event with the song from each service branch. Later, officials from City Hall took the podium to speak.

Fourth District Councilman Andre Allen said attending a ceremony highlighting the veterans is the least he can do to say thank you.

“It’s important to demonstrate to them we love them, we care for them and we appreciate them so having special ceremonies here, around the city throughout our region is so important,” said Allen.

Peoria Police Chief and former Marine Eric Echevarria and Fire Chief Shawn Sollberger led the placing of the wreath and flowers honoring the fallen soldiers of each major war.

Burns went on to say how he was disappointed with the lack of younger people at the ceremony but was thankful the community response has become more positive since returning home from Vietnam.

The ceremony ended with the cracks from a rifle salute which was followed by the mournful notes of Taps.