Thousands attend Veterans Day ceremony at Florida National Cemetery

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SUMTER COUNTY, Fla. —

About 3,000 people from around central Florida attended the annual Veterans Day ceremony at the Florida National Cemetery in Sumter County on Monday.

Every year, the ceremony is one of central Florida's most well-attended events to honor the nation's heroes. There are more than 128,000 graves at the cemetery, and each year the crowd of visitors grows a little, organizers said.

Bagpipes, patriotic songs, an honor guard and the playing of taps were all part of today's ceremony.

"Welcome to the place where valor proudly sleeps," said Col. Robert Crawford, U.S. Marine Corps retired.

The crowd was made up mostly of veterans, their families and the families of those currently serving in the armed forces.

For the Whayens, visiting the cemetery on Veterans Day has become a family tradition, and the parents said their sons and daughters who are now in uniform will continue it.

"I believe they will. We started even before our boys were in the service," said Barbara Whayen.

"I don't know if I can put it into words. I am just so very thankful that these men and women fought for our freedom," said Linda Burnette.