Photos: Memorial Day tributes in West Michigan

A May 29, 2017 photo of the flyover during the Muskegon Memorial Day parade. (Mandy Sosnoski via Facebook)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Flags were flying at half-mast throughout West Michigan Monday morning, as communities remembered those who died for our country during Memorial Day.

Dozens of communities held Memorial Day parades, many of which ended with somber tributes at cemeteries. In Rockford, hundreds gathered downtown for the annual parade, which began with a prayer and special recognition of veterans.

“We’re free today because of the sacrifices they made for us and continue to make for us every single day,” said Beth Vogt, who brought some of her children to Rockford’s Memorial Day parade.

Vogt’s oldest son is in the Air Force, stationed in Las Vegas.

“It really is a great thing that our parents and our community supports our military and our families. And I think they really do the best they can to pass that down to their kids and explain to them why Memorial Day is what it is, and it’s not all about barbecues and pool parties,” she said.

This was the first year a giant flag was hoisted onto the Mackinac Bridge, where it greeted travelers making the crossing. The Michigan Department of Transportation says the flag will fly during several holidays, including Flag Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day and Veterans Day.