Birmingham's military heroes of the past and present weighed heavily on residents' minds Monday at the city's annual Memorial Day ceremony in .
City leaders recognized Birmingham's veterans, read from the Gettysburg Address and laid wreaths on the city's Civil War and World War II memorials during the half-hour ceremony, with patriotic tunes provided by the Birmingham Straw Hat Band.
"Memorial Day is a day for Americans to reconnect with their core values," said Maj. Robert Siewert. "Each person who's died during (this country's) conflicts was a loved one."
Also during the ceremony, Siewert read off the names of a little less than 20 local soldiers who had died in conflict during the past year. All the causalities, Siewert said, were from Afghanistan.
"We look forward to the day when we don't have a list, but this year, we do," Siewert said.