How to do you plan to observe Memorial Day – a day set aside to remember service members who have fallen in battle and others who are no longer living.
Kurt Rotar, director of the Florida National Cemetery at Bushnell and Bay Pines National Cemetery in St. Petersburg, suggested visiting your nearest national cemetery to pay tribute.
You can check a VA National Cemeteries Administration map for the cemetery closest to you.
Ceremonies are planned at several Florida national cemeteries which you can attend or you can just walk among the veterans buried there.
- Barrancas National Cemetery – Pensacola, FL
- Bay Pines National Cemetery – St. Petersburg, FL – Memorial Day ceremony at 10 a.m.
- Florida National Cemetery – Bushnell, FL – Memorial Day ceremony at 11 a.m.
- Jacksonville National Cemetery – Jacksonville, FL
- Sarasota National Cemetery – Sarasota, FL – Memorial Day ceremony at 3 p.m.
- South Florida National Cemetery – Lake Worth, FL
- St. Augustine National Cemetery – St. Augustine, FL
If you can’t make it to a national cemetery, there are other ways to recognize those who have worn the uniform.
- Fly an American Flag at your home at half-staff before noon. Then, raise the flag to full staff at noon.
- Put flowers or flags on veterans graves at private cemeteries
- Take time as a family to say thank you to a veteran.
- At 3 p.m. on Memorial Day pause for a moment of silence and reflect on the veterans’ sacrifice.
- Secretly pick-up the meal tab for an active-duty military member you see dining.
Rotar said there are more than 133,000 buried at Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell which is the second busiest national cemetery in the United States. Bushnell handles close to 7,000 burial services a year. The busiest national cemetery is in Riverside, California.
By the summer of 2015, Rotar said the VA National Cemetery Administration hopes to begin burials at two new national cemeteries one in Tallahassee and one in Scottsmore that will be known as the Cape Canaveral National Cemetery.