OLIVE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — At West Olive Cemetery, 150 names of the brave were read during one of West Michigan’s longest-running Memorial Day services, around a century in the making.

“The freedom that we have was not given to us by a piece of paper. It’s by the American soldier,” said Olive Township Historical Society President Kit Karsten. “The weather’s gorgeous, the flags are furling in the breeze, the words of past presidents were used in the addresses this morning. It’s just a great thing to be an American.”

About 21 miles away in Muskegon Heights, another ceremony took place at Mona View Cemetery. Around 20 people, including the group Friends of Mona View Cemetery, paid their respects to the soldiers who are laid there.

“I think if we take time to remember our elders and look back at history, then I think we kind of have a clear path, especially if we walk with love in our hearts really,” said group member Jamie Green.

An underlying theme connecting the two ceremonies and the people there from miles away is a solemn salute to America’s fallen heroes.

“That’s what we want — that story to continue to live on, the tradition of this Memorial Day. It’s very important,” said Sandy Karsten, who serves as vice president for the Olive Township Historical Society.

Friends of Mona View Cemetery hopes this holiday and the ceremony marking it serve as a catalyst to raise money for the property’s upkeep and restoration, including getting a flag for the pole located on the main hill.