PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Memorial Day was commemorated at Soldiers and Sailors hall in Oakland.

Soldiers and Sailors Memorial drew a festive crowd to the spacious grounds fronting on Fifth Avenue. The event was as American as, well, a cornbread eating contest.

Veterans in uniform epitomized the day’s true meaning to remind us of our nation’s fallen heroes.

“We have to honor them, and we have to keep on honoring them and we have to have our people remember what they did,” said retired Navy Chief Joe Hartman.

“Especially the civilians, that were never in the service, they don’t realize what it was like to be in those kinds of conditions,” said retired Army Cpl. L.E. Trout.

Re-enactors pay homage to America’s most wrenching conflict, the war between the states.

In a year that marks the 150th anniversary of the decisive battle of the Civil War, this year’s memorial day activities have a distinct Gettysburg feel.

Soldiers and Sailors curator Michaelo Kraus plays the role of union captain. He says re-enacting is more than just putting on a costume.

“You move like they did, and you listen to commands like they did, and it gives you a really great understanding of how they operated, how difficult it was,” Kraus said. “So when you read about it, or look at pictures, you really feel a kinship to it. You really feel like you understand it.”

A dwindling number of Civil War veterans were still around when the hall opened in 1910. On this day, they too are remembered.

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