Remembering the fallen over Memorial Day weekend

Published: May. 28, 2023 at 9:07 PM CDT
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HARDY, Ark. (KAIT) - Memorial Day is the unofficial start to summer and millions of people hit the lakes and rivers for an extra long weekend.

“The river is just a beautiful place,” Russ Hunt, a veteran who spent his weekend at the Spring River said. “I enjoy it, the atmosphere is nice, spend time with family, grill barbecue, float.”

But the day is more than cookouts, boating and friends. It is also a day to honor those who put their lives on the line.

“To me, as a veteran you know, Memorial Day, it holds a special place in my heart,” he said.

Hunt served in Afghanistan alongside Sergeant Chris Brown, whom Hunt described as selfless.

“He was a platoon sergeant in our unit in Afghanistan, the man put us over himself, you know he solved everybody’s problems and then… the demons got him,” he said.

Hunt lost his sergeant and friend to suicide. The department of Veteran affairs says nearly 20 veterans are lost to suicide each day.

Now on Memorial Day weekend, Hunt comes to the river to remember the man who took care of him and to honor those who are gone.

“I do what they would want to do you know just have fun and live life,” he said.

While several took to the river for fun, Hunt said, it’s important to remember why people are out having fun.

“You gotta know the true meaning of the holiday, you know, Memorial Day, it’s for our fallen soldiers,” he said.

If you, or someone you know is need of assistance, the National Suicide Prevention Network is available 24/7/365 simply by calling 988.