Even before Memorial Day, Tallahassee was celebrating our veterans. The Tallahassee National Cemetery was dedicated Friday.
Volunteers passed out water bottles to the crowd who came out in the heat for the dedication and symbolic groundbreaking of Tallahassee’s National Cemetery. Many thanks were expressed by the speakers during the ceremony, especially towards the cemetery’s director Raymond Miller, who announced that applications for internments would be accepted beginning June 1st.
One of the speakers, Congresswoman Gwen Graham, geared her remarks towards the significance that the cemetery grounds will hold for families in the future.
“There will be many sad days here for families saying goodbye to loved ones – but there will also forever be pride, respect, and honor for all who are buried here,” Graham said.
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert “Bob” McDonald traveled to Tallahassee from Washington D.C. to unveil the commemorative plaque and to give the key note address. For McDonald, one moment of the ceremony in particular meant the most.
“Well I think the most important part was simply turning the ground over and saying we’ve started,” McDonald said, “And it was exciting to hear we’re gonna be taking applications in June, June 1st, for this cemetery and be making burials very quickly thereafter. It’s exciting to move that quickly.”
The many veterans and spouses of veterans that came to celebrate the dedication cheered and clapped loudly for every speaker – from U.S. Representative Jeff Miller to Florida Department of Veterans Affairs Director Michael Prendergast. The patriotic ceremony ended with a prayer of dedication, a rifle salute, and Taps.