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West Michigan veterans group leader shares meaning of Memorial Day

The vice president of WINC For All Women Veterans is encouraging people to take a moment and be thoughtful on this day.

MUSKEGON, Mich. — A leader of a veterans group in West Michigan shared what Memorial Day means to her and her organization. 

Sera Misner-Castaneda is the vice president of WINC For All Women Veterans.

"We strive to meet their needs when it comes to needs regarding PTSD, military sexual trauma, which really isn't talked about," she says. "We're a safe port for women all around."

Misner-Castaneda is encouraging people to take a moment and be thoughtful on this day. 

"We're here because there were some that went ahead of us, that gave their all," she says.

Misner-Castaneda served in the Marine Corps from 2002 to 2006 in Kuwait and Iraq. On Memorial Day, she remembers both those closest to her, as well as the entire community. 

"I had the honor of serving with a lance corporal Cedric Bruns. I smile when I remember him, but he was taken from us far too soon. And he was a fantastic guy," she says. "I remember quite a few on this day, but him in particular."

Misner-Castaneda says that this is a holiday where the meaning is often lost. 

"We typically hear 'Happy Memorial Day,' and this is not a joyous holiday," she says. "You see a lot of the advertisements {that say) 'Come get your Memorial Day sale,' but this is not about a sale. This is about taking the time to really reflect and letting what the day means resonate with you."

Misner-Castaneda has some tips for those looking to support the veteran community this time of year.

"You can always check with your local VFW chapters to see if they're laying out flags for those who passed. You can check with your local cemeteries to see if they would like some assistance cleaning those veterans' graves," she says. "Just really be aware of what this day means understand that this is for those who went before us remember that they had spouses, they had family, really remember them as well on this day too."

More than 1.3 million soldiers, both men and women, have died fighting for our country.   

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