Hundreds honor veterans at Florida National Cemetery

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SUMTER COUNTY, Fla. —

It is the second largest veteran's cemetery next to Arlington National in Virginia, and on Monday, Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell was the site of a large ceremony honoring the nation's and Florida's veterans.

There were some heavy downpours in the hour leading up to the start of the ceremony, but that did not deter the hundreds of people from all across Central Florida who attended.

"They gave their service, they gave their optimism, they gave their lives.  They gave everything to support and defend this nation," said General Jeffrey Phillips, U.S. Army Reserve.

Most have friends or loved ones who are laid to rest at the Florida National Cemetery, and it will always hold a special place in their hearts.

"It's helped heal those veterans who came home to a hostile public as well as it's inspired a lot of people because we're actually showing and giving the respect that's due to all of our veterans," said Lowell St. Cyr, a Vietnam War veteran.

Distinguished guests at the memorial service included Gov. Rick Scott.

Florida National Cemetery has always been the site of one of the largest Memorial Day ceremonies in the state and that held true on Monday.