05/27/2016 08:15 EDT | Updated 05/26/2017 10:44 EDT

These Emotional Photos Show The Real Reason For Memorial Day

Somber images remind us that this isn't just another day off work.

Joshua Roberts/Reuters
Christian Jacobs, 4, of Hertford, North Carolina, lies on the grave of his father, Christian James Jacob, during a Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, on May 25, 2015.

Every year on Memorial Day, the nation remembers those who’ve died while serving our country. The day is marked by somber ceremonies and celebrations around the U.S., offering photographers throughout the years a chance to capture the quiet moments of people spending time near their loved ones.

As you look at the photos below, remember that Memorial Day is more than just a day off ― it’s a day to reflect on those who made the ultimate sacrifice. 

  • Brian Snyder/Reuters
    A pedestrian carrying an umbrella walks through a Memorial Day display of United States flags on the Boston Common in Boston, Massachusetts, on May 23, 2013.
  • Win McNamee via Getty Images
    Two members of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment place flags at the headstones of U.S. military personnel buried at Arlington National Cemetery, in preparation for Memorial Day on May 25, 2017 in Arlington, Virginia.
  • Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images
    A young woman lays down on the grave of U.S. Marine Corps Lance Corporal Noah Pier on Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery on May 31, 2010, in Arlington, Virginia.
  • Allison Shelley via Getty Images
    Major Clint Kappel and his children in Section 60, the burial ground for military personnel killed since 2001, at Arlington National Cemetery on May 30, 2016 in Arlington, Virginia.
  • Brian Snyder / Reuters
    A woman sits at the edge of the field of United States flags displayed by the Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund on the Boston Common in Boston, Massachusetts on May 26, 2016.
  • Joe Amon via Getty Images
    Andi Schorr grieves at the grave of her husband Sergeant First Class George Joseph Schorr. Schorr served two tours of duty in Vietnam and died in 1979 of cancer. Memorial Day ceremony, 84th Anniversary of Remembrance at Fort Logan National Cemetery. May 30, 2016 in Denver.
  • Mark Wilson via Getty Images
    Ricky Parada sits at the grave of his little brother Cpl. Nicolas D. Parada Rodriguez, who was killed in Afghanistan, on Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery on May 28, 2012, in Arlington, Virginia.
  • Allen J. Schaben via Getty Images
    Lance Corporal Cameron Davis, of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, wraps himself in an American flag towel as he props up fallen flags while paying his respects to fellow service men and women at Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego on Sunday, May 25, 2014.
  • Joshua Roberts/Reuters
    A woman walks past graves on Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, on May 25, 2015.
  • Gabriella Demczuk via Getty Images
    Angela Spraul and her daughter Ava, 4, sit at the grave of her husband, John Spraul, U.S. Navy, on Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery on May 25, 2015, in Arlington, Virginia.
  • MARK RALSTON via Getty Images
    An Iraq War veteran sits and drinks a beer beside the symbolic graves of fallen friends, Sgt. Eric Snell and Pfc Michael Pittman, both from his former unit, the 1st Infantry Division, at the Arlington West Memorial on Memorial Day in Santa Monica, California, on May 30, 2011.
  • Joe Amon via Getty Images
    Felicity Bohn 11 of Littleton, Colorado visits the grave of Gregory P. Rund USMC. He was a close high school friend of her mother Lauren where they were survivors of the Columbine shootings. Lance Corporal Rund died Dec. 11 2004 as result of enemy action in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. He was awarded the Bronze Star for heroic achievement in connection with combat operations
  • Allen J. Schaben via Getty Images
    Nathaniel Marley, 4, salutes the graves of service men and women as well as his grandpa as he is taught to pay respects and say thank you by his father, U.S. Army veteran Bruce Marley, of San Diego, not pictured, on a Memorial Day weekend at Rosecrans National Cemetery overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Point Loma, San Diego.
  • Joe Skipper/Reuters
    Jeff Lee of Lantana, Florida, leans against the gravestone of his father, Frank Lee, during a Memorial Day ceremony at the South Florida National Cemetery in Lake Worth, Florida, on May 27, 2013.
  • Ralph Freso/Reuters
    Navy veteran Ron White pauses to reflect for a moment as he adds the names of over 2,000 fallen military personnel who served in the war in Afghanistan to a 50-footwall at Chase Field during a Memorial Day game in Phoenix, Arizona, on May 27, 2013.
  • Reuters
    A soldier sits in front of a grave during Memorial Day celebrations at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, on May 25, 2015.
  • Joshua Roberts/Reuters
    Ryan Buckingham of Camdenton, Missouri, touches the grave of his friend David Hortman during Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, on May 25, 2015.
  • Lucas Jackson / Reuters
    U.S. Army soldiers Rick Kolberg, left,  and Jesus Gallegos embrace as they visit the graves of Raymond Jones and Peter Enos on Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington on May 30, 2016.