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Army veteran Bernie Klomanek of Mineral, Va. remembers the fallen during a Memorial Day visit to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., May 31, 2021.
Army veteran Bernie Klomanek of Mineral, Va. remembers the fallen during a Memorial Day visit to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., May 31, 2021. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

Memorial Day ceremonies that were canceled by the pandemic in 2020 returned to the National Mall Monday, with veterans, their families, service members and the general public gathering to honor the nation's fallen.

At the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, where the names of the more than 58,000 Americans who died during the Vietnam War are engraved on the iconic wall, keynote speaker Karl Marlantes noted that "everybody here on this wall chose to risk their lives. Their lives were sacrificed because of (a combination of) bravery and bad luck.

“You veterans know, you’re in a wrong hole when the shells come in, that’s it,” he continued. “But everybody on this wall risked their lives, and that was the important act.”

At the National World War II Memorial, a half-dozen members of the "Greatest Generation" were on hand to pay tribute to those who died in the struggle against the Axis powers more than three-quarters of a century ago.

World War II veteran Harold Radish, center, and Superintendent of the National Mall and Memorial Parks Jeffrey Reinbold place a wreath during a Memorial Day ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., May 31, 2021.
World War II veteran Harold Radish, center, and Superintendent of the National Mall and Memorial Parks Jeffrey Reinbold place a wreath during a Memorial Day ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., May 31, 2021. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
Memorial Day tributes at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., May 31, 2021.
Memorial Day tributes at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., May 31, 2021. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
Memorial Day tributes at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., May 31, 2021.
Memorial Day tributes at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., May 31, 2021. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
A visitor to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., pays his respects on Memorial Day, May 31, 2021.
A visitor to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., pays his respects on Memorial Day, May 31, 2021. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
Memorial Day at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., May 31, 2021.
Memorial Day at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., May 31, 2021. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
Memorial Day tributes at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., May 31, 2021.
Memorial Day tributes at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., May 31, 2021. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
Memorial Day tributes at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., May 31, 2021.
Memorial Day tributes at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., May 31, 2021. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
Memorial Day tributes at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., May 31, 2021.
Memorial Day tributes at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., May 31, 2021. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
The sun casts a shadow on a book containing information on the location of names on the Vietnam wall, May 31, 2021.
The sun casts a shadow on a book containing information on the location of names on the Vietnam wall, May 31, 2021. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
The color guard arrives for a Memorial Day ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., May 31, 2021.
The color guard arrives for a Memorial Day ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., May 31, 2021. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
World War II veteran Les Jones salutes as the national anthem is played during a Memorial Day ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., May 31, 2021.
World War II veteran Les Jones salutes as the national anthem is played during a Memorial Day ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., May 31, 2021. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
World War II veteran Callan Francis Saffel salutes as the national anthem is played during a Memorial Day ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., May 31, 2021.
World War II veteran Callan Francis Saffel salutes as the national anthem is played during a Memorial Day ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., May 31, 2021. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
After a year of canceled events due to the pandemic, the public returned for a Memorial Day ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., May 31, 2021.
After a year of canceled events due to the pandemic, the public returned for a Memorial Day ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., May 31, 2021. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
World War II veteran Callan Francis Saffell takes part in a Memorial Day wreath-laying ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., May 31, 2021.
World War II veteran Callan Francis Saffell takes part in a Memorial Day wreath-laying ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., May 31, 2021. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
A bugler plays taps during a Memorial Day ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., May 31, 2021.
A bugler plays taps during a Memorial Day ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., May 31, 2021. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
A bugler plays taps during a Memorial Day ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., May 31, 2021.
A bugler plays taps during a Memorial Day ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., May 31, 2021. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
The Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington is fenced off on May 31, 2021, as construction begins on a wall listing those killed in the 1950-1953 war,
The Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington is fenced off on May 31, 2021, as construction begins on a wall listing those killed in the 1950-1953 war, (Joe Gromelski)
With the Lincoln Memorial as a backdrop, members of the public meet participants in a Memorial Day ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., May 31, 2021.
With the Lincoln Memorial as a backdrop, members of the public meet participants in a Memorial Day ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., May 31, 2021. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

Four veterans who were regular attendees at ceremonies at the memorial and passed away in recent months were singled out for recognition: Col. Frederick Clinton, Dr. Jack Goldstein, Ewing Miller and Herman Zeitchick. Relatives of Zeitchick were among the participants in the wreath-laying ceremony.

The National Korean War Veterans Memorial was closed on Memorial Day, as work has begun on a memorial wall listing the names of the fallen, both Americans and Korean augmentees to the U.S. Army.

news@stripes.com

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