DALLAS - When words aren't enough, sometimes symbols and tradition will do.

"I choke up, I really do," said Navy veteran Jack McCurley, who served in Guam in the 1940s.

McCurley can't quite put into words what Veterans Day means to him, but watching the Air Force flyover at DFW National Cemetery has become an annual tradition.

"I'm glad I did what I did," said McCurley, of his time in the armed forces.

He's among hundreds who spent Saturday at DFW National Cemetery to honor all veterans and pay respects to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

"The only thing that's left is the memories of the guys that are the real heroes," said Frank Hern, motioning toward the headstones.

Hern served multiple tours with the U.S. Army's 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team in Vietnam.

Hern knows, each headstone represents someone who knew freedom was worth the sacrifice.

"I really don't see the rank or the names, nothing. If all of these stones just had 'brother,' that would be good enough for me," he said.

Shawn Walker attended the ceremony with his wife and two daughters. His father, a Marine Corps veteran, is among 56,000 veterans and dependents who have been interred at DFW National Cemetery since it opened in 2000. Groundbreaking was 20 years ago.

"It's important for the youth to know what it means to serve your country and what freedom is really all about," said Walker.

The one-hour ceremony Saturday also included an honorary branch wreath placement, a rifle salute, and guest speakers.