A mother in Mesilla says she'll never forget the day she gave her son her blessing to join the military. Years later, she's found her own way to honor him and other veterans.
Hundreds of people visited Veterans Memorial Park in Las Cruces to remember the brave men and women who serve our country.
Susie Barela has created her own unique memorial inside her Mesilla home.
"This was his dream. It's the hardest thing as a parent to let go but it was his dream and he's fulfilled it," Barela said.
Six years ago, Barela and her husband gave in to their son's wish to join the military. Martin "Cito" Barela joined the Marines. He's now been on two tours to Afghanistan and one to Japan.
Now every Veterans Day holds even more meaning for Susie Barela.
"The first thing I did was call him and thank him. I thank everyone whenever I see someone that has served or someone in uniform I always go up to them and thank them. I think everyone should do that," she told ABC-7.
Barela put her son's picture up on the wall. Then, her uncle's, who served in Vietnam. Over the years, it's turned into an entire memorial room.
"It's overwhelming. I don't know how to explain it. I just enjoy coming in here and sitting. I come in here and I pray for them and everyone else that is out there serving for us, for our freedom. It's just a great feeling. I don't know how to explain it," Susie Barela said.
Barela has so many pictures, she's running out of space on the wall. She said she plans on keeping the tradition going into the next room.
As hard as it was to let her son enlist, she's a proud Marine mom.
"He's my hero. I always tell him, 'You're my son. You're my Marine. You're my hero," Barela said.
Barela's son will finish his time in the military this February.
He is her only child, but she said she considers his comrades her adopted sons.