I’m so thankful that a photographer friend suggested we go to the Memorial Day ceremony at the Florida National Cemetery. It was to be held rain or shine, and we prepared for the worst, but the weather was kind to us and it was a beautiful day for a very moving ceremony.
That it was a day of flags was obvious as soon as we entered the property. The road was lined with flags, all gently moving in the breeze. But as we followed the twists and turns of the road to find the parking area as we took each turn we saw field after field of grave markers, each of which were graced with a flag. Volunteers had placed those flags the day before, and as they did they read each and every name of our deceased heros aloud. And they did this in weather that was anything but kind.
Flags of each state also lined the seating area. As the Hernando High School band played a medley of all the services theme songs the veterans in the audience were asked to stand to be acknowledged, which was the first time I teared up.The riderless horse was another emotional moment. And as the cavalry, provided by the Pasco Posse, marched we were treated to bagpipers playing Amazing Grace. Yes, emotional.Soon it was time for the 21 gun salute. Which is extremely loud when you have a front row seat, so to speak. I can see the smoke from the guns in this photo, it’s faint but it’s there. Taps was played next. A lone bugle, beautifully played…
I’m ashamed that it took me all these years to attend a Memorial Day event. As the daughter, wife, and mother of veterans there is no excuse. It was a very emotional and moving sort of day. And as I’m writing this I hear the rain pouring down.