HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Memorial weekend has kicked off and many are honoring those who lost their lives serving the county.

Joanna Bryant, the chair for Cameron County Conservatives, is one of the organizers of a Memorial weekend event in Harlingen.

She said it is the second year the organization has held the event.

People gathered in Harlingen at the Iwo Jima memorial to listen to people share their testimonies.

“We never ever want to forget those that served to protect our freedom, made the ultimate sacrifice,” said Bryant.

She added the event focuses on honoring the sacrifice of others, “The best way to honor those that died to serve and protect our freedom is to live a life that is worthy of their sacrifice.”

Marie Vega, a mom of two U.S. Marine veterans, participated in the event by setting up the “Missing Man Table.”

“It symbolizes that they’re not here but we’re remembering them, we set up a table for them,” said Vega.

Vega said she and her family also set up the table in their home.

“The white tablecloth, to symbolize the pure intentions of the service members who responded to the country call to arms,” she said.

She explained that the single rose on the table symbolizes the blood service members shed in sacrifice to ensure the freedom of America and added that each item on the table has significance to not only service members but also their families.

“I want to remember the many soldiers who fought and lost their lives and I want to honor and tribute, give tribute to them,” said U.S. Army Veteran, Paul Tameling.

Tameling is also a retired pastor and survivor of a World War II camp, where he was rescued at eight years old.

“I give thanks and honor and honor the soldiers who finally liberated us,” said Tameling.