VAN METER, Iowa — On a quiet and peaceful Sunday afternoon, families and friends visited their loved ones at Veteran’s cemetery for the real reason behind Memorial Day.

Lisa Thompson and her family are one of those families.

“This was kind of an easy place for us to come and just show the girls what the meaning of Memorial Day is for us,” Lisa Thompson said.

Her dad, Richard Thomsen, and family would spend every year at the cemetery.

He was a Vietnam veteran and would spend hours reflecting on the real meaning of this holiday.

This year it gives more of a personal and comforting meaning to his family.

“This is a little different this year when we’re actually visiting him instead of actually visiting with him.”

This is their first Memorial Day and visit without him. In February, Thomsen passed away of pneumonia and was buried in a place he found peaceful.

“It’s comforting to know that he’s in a place he really likes,” Thompson said. “They just take such great care of this place. You can feel the respect when you pull into a place like this.”

A place that holds many memories and a tradition that will bond a family forever.

“We have so many memories here already and now we just have a place to come that symbolizes that memory that we have with him,” Thompson said. “The minute we drive up here. it just feels like we can remember when we were with him.”