In many places, Memorial Day has become the unofficial kick-off to the summer season, a day to spend barbecuing with friends. However, Memorial Day still resonates as the day to recognize American soldiers who have fallen defending our country. Parades were held throughout the region last Sunday to honor soldiers who have given their lives for Americas freedoms. In Chazy, locals watched as Russell B. Childs of American Legion Post 769 led off the parade, followed by Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, the Chazy Central Rural School Band, Shriners with their miniature-clown cars and, of course, veterans. Lori Salimando-Porter and her husband, Joe Porter, both retired military servicepersons, attended the event with their 2-year-old godson, Landon. Its a gift from God to be back here, said Salimando-Porter. [Memorial Day] is a small way to honor the men and women of the wars who have fought for the freedom of the U.S., including those [overseas] now, added Porter. Landon, however, was most anxious to make sure he had a prime spot staked out along the route in order to collect the maximum amount of candy. On Monday, drizzly gray skies ruled the day, reinforcing the more somber tone of observances taking place at churches, VFW and American Legion halls throughout the region. In Champlain, veterans from VFW Post 1418 of Champlain joined with members of American Legion Post 767 and their friends and families for a sober remembrance of fallen comrades. In the destiny of veterans, their souls go marching on, VFW commander Earl Robinson read as he addressed the group. The service continued with a reading of the names of members lost over the years, as well as the laying of the wreaths, a moment of silence and a gun salute. Although some may feel there is a lack of recognition on Memorial Day for sacrifices made by the armed forces, not all forget the meaning of the holiday, said Al Strack, commander of the American Legion. Certainly, the meaning is not lost to fellow veterans, he explained. Theres so much history the wars, the campaigns, agreed Robinson, who served in Asia and Germany. Its so hard to forget from our perspective. The meaning was also not lost on family members in attendance, especially in this time of war. Im here to show my support, explained Janet Hemingway, whose father served in Korea. Its more important now.