ORLANDO, Fla. - Memorial Day ceremonies were held all across central Florida, including the Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell, where thousands turned out on Monday.
Many of the visitors have loved ones who are laid to rest there, and some came from every corner of the state to attend.
"Every time we come back, and we come every year, the topography has changed, because more and more people have been buried," said Sherry Jung, whose father was killed in World War II.
"As long as they understand why they have that day off is important, why they have that time to get together with their family and be thankful for what they have," said U.S. Army veteran Mike Lipiec.
Maj. Gen. Michael T. Plehn, principal director for Middle East Policy<<where?>>, was the guest speaker at the event, with the Hernando High School marching band and others playing patriotic music.
"Most of our serving military has known nothing but war for the entire length of their service," said Plehn.
Central High School NJROTC Color Guard presented and posted colors while the Rifle Team of the Marine
Corps League 708 of Spring Hill rendered a gun salute.
The Avenue of Flags, consisting of about 400 flags, was on display along the roadways of the cemetery. Afterward, the flags were donated to the cemetery by the next of kin of deceased veterans and were draped over the caskets or cremation urns of veterans.
A small American
flag was placed on each of the almost 120,000 graves at Florida National Cemetery.
Along with the rifle salute, the ceremony included bagpipes and a flyover.
The city of Sanford also held a Memorial Day parade along First Street.
And in Cocoa, city leaders hosted a ceremony at Riverfront Park to remember the men and women who have given their lives.