New national cemetery a touchstone for military memorials
The Patrick Air Force Base Honor Guard presented the colors.
Community leaders marked Memorial Day for the first time May 30 at the new Cape Canaveral National Cemetery in Scottsmoor/Mims, Florida. The new facility is not only a place where local heroes can be remembered, but also a place where the community can convene for military milestones, officials said.
“It is of the utmost importance that we remember our heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice, and their spouses and families for their sacrifice of their loved one so we might have the freedom we enjoy today,” said Rob Medina, community relations and veterans affairs director for U.S. District 8 Congressman Bill Posey, whose remarks Medina delivered via a letter.
Keynote speaker was Patrick Air Force Base 45th Space Wing commander Brig. Gen. Wayne R. Monteith.
“It means a lot to our veterans and active military to see the community coming together in such strong numbers to acknowledge them,” Monteith said of the more than 400 persons in attendance. Parking was limited and filled to overflowing because the facility is still in early development stages.
Cemetery staff and volunteers directed traffic and transported attendees in golf carts from the parking areas to the ceremony on a grassy knoll along the east side of U.S. 1, the site of the first 200-plus burials that started late last year.
The national cemetery is one of the first of a number of military facilities to be built around the country to accommodate veterans as they age and is expected to reach a capacity of 160,000 veterans and their spoused in the next 100 years.
Other speakers at the inaugural Memorial Day ceremony included U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, guest speaker; Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey, master of ceremonies; and Don Murphy, cemetery director.
Great Outdoors Community Church pastor J.B. Kump gave the invocation, Patrick Air Force Base Honor Guard presented the colors, Patti Eastwood led the National Anthem, USMC retiree Jim Carleton led the Pledge of Allegiance, Vietnam veteran Don George recited a poem, U.S. Army Reserve Capt. Philip Stiles played TAPS, Vietnam and All Veterans of Brevard members provided a rifle salute and the Astronaut/Titusville High Schools Combined Brass Ensemble performed patriotic music.
For more information on the cemetery, go to cem.va.gov or call 321-383-2636.