For Marine Sgt. Terrence Burke, Memorial Day will always be a lot more than “just a pastime of barbecues and Bud Lights.”

The Boston Police officer lost his leg while serving in Fallujah, Iraq.

Yesterday, while speaking to a crowd of hundreds during the Memorial Day celebration at Cedar Grove Cemetery in Dorchester, he urged those to remember not just those who have recently served, but the soldiers who served in wars decades before him.

“Their self sacrifices are what made this country what it is today,” Burke said.

When taps played during the ceremony, many veterans stood and leaned on their canes or oxygen tanks as they held their hand over their heart.

Many veterans in the crowd yesterday were middle-aged men who served in Vietnam of the Gulf War rather than older, World War II veterans.

Mayor Thomas Menino also urged people to remember the sacrifices made by American troops.

“Our soldiers left the comfort of their homes to defend this nation,” hesaid. “We’ll never forget.”

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