ALAMEDA (KPIX) – General George Patton was man very familiar with war and tactics. He once famously said, “It is foolish and wrong to mourn those who died. rather we should thank God that they lived.”

Many visitors at the Alameda County Cemetery on this day of remembrance seemed to agree.

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Situated on 42 acres of land, established in 1868, and hosting celebrations since 1903 makes it the oldest continuous observance of Memorial Day, west of the Mississippi.

Army veteran Mr. Smith is 82-years-old. He’s looking for his grandfather who was a U. S. Army Large Animal Veterinarian.

“Ah Ha Ha Ha! There he is! My Grandfather” exclaimed Mr. Smith, after a short search.

He and his wife came to place a flower.

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“He was a Veterinarian Surgeon, contract for Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders, and then he went into the Philippines,” said Smith.

A completely restored Vietnam-era helicopter also came to pay respects, landing near the graves. It belongs to Geoffrey Carr, who flew as a Crewman/ Door Gunner.

“What is now considered a war that nobody cares about. It’s remembering now as a reason why we have to be careful about having wars,” said Carr.

Pastor Chuck Horner is a U.S. Navy vet who also served in Vietnam. He says patriotism is rising.

“A lot of people are starting to step again, starting to sober up again. Um, we’ve been intoxicated with our own sense of invincibility…and um…that’s not true,” he said.

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The graves of the fallen service men and women are a reminder that freedom isn’t free.