(KMSP) - It started as a way to honor fallen soldiers and has turned into a family tradition that spans multiple generations.
For the past 70 years, the Silva family has gathered at the graves of their loved ones to honor their sacrifices.
About six generations of the Silva family headed to Resurrection Cemetery in Mendota Heights, Minnesota, Sunday.
The tradition started soon after George Silva was killed - a day before his 21st birthday – while serving in the Army in Burma during WWII.
Initially the family paid their respects at Fort Snelling, but George’s remains were moved 40 years ago to be buried next to his parents.
His younger sister Lucy remembers the day her older brother left home.
“I was 8 years old and the war was going on - the drafting - and it was time for him to go. It was hard on my mom,” Lucy Silva said.
Lucy and Peter are the only surviving siblings of a large family who emigrated from Mexico to St. Paul in the 1920s.
The service has grown every year.
“I can feel it in my heart,” Peter Silva said.
The tight-knit family said it’s important to set aside time for family and country. Even the little ones say they will be sure to carry on the tradition for generations to come.