VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Memorial Day is a time for somber reflection.
The Navy got a head start on Wednesday at Naval Air Station Oceana with the annual "Roll Call Remembrance" ceremony.
One by one, at the base's Chapel of the Good Shepherd, 297 names were read-- names of Virginia Beach, Chesapeake and North Carolina native sons and daughters who died while in military service dating back to World War II.
"This sacred weekend we're about to head into is not just about barbecues and the beach and car sales. It's far from it. It's about service members that have answered the nation's call.," said Captain Steve Djunaedi, Oceana's Commanding Officer.
Alicia McCoy is Oceana's Gold Star Program Coordinator.
"This is huge," she said. "This lets them know that their person didn't die for nothing, that they are still remembered, and you as a family are remembered."
Gold Star family members who attended the ceremony said they were touched.
"I've been around since my son was killed in action in 2010. So, I've watched this program grow into what it is today. So for me, it's special. It means that the country will continue to stand by our Gold Star families," said Gold Star mother Terri Campbell.
Fellow Gold Star mother Maggie Sticklen said she would not have missed this event.
"This is very meaningful because it reminds people the sacrifice that our loved ones have made to keep this country free," she said.