Paradise, Calif. -- In Paradise, many came out to honor the sacrifices of those men and women who answered the call to serve our country.
“We have to give our loved ones that final hug, that final kiss. And sometimes it doesn't feel deep enough,” said Commander of the Sons of American Legion Paradise Post 259 James Holmes.
His brother serves in the military, and he doesn't ever want to get that phone call or that visit.
“When you get that knock on the door, it's never satisfying enough. That last hug, that last I love you goodbye wasn’t enough, and it leaves an empty void," he said.
He says he fully supports the US military, and he's incredibly upset that the flags were vandalized this weekend after they were placed on veterans’ graves by volunteers.
"Pull out these poles, pull out the rebar, break the sticks off the flags and tear them up. I’d like to see you do it in front of a veteran; I’d like to see you do it in front of someone who served this country."
The brutality of war has a big impact on our returning veterans.
"There’s folks out there that used to wake up every morning and smile and they didn’t' know what else to do. And they went over there and they served… and now they come back and they don't smile so much anymore."
He says 22 veterans commit suicide in the US every day, a statistic that hits him in the gut.
"A lot of them know the troubles that haunt them, and it's really important they know… we're here for them. And if it isn’t' the Legion Hall it’s somebody, go see somebody. Damnit, we've got to stop the damn suicide bro."
Another reason a day like today, where we can pause and say thank you, means so much to so many.
"You don't know how much you love them until they leave.”