May 22, 2014
BAY PINES, FL —The Bay Pines VA Healthcare System (VAHCS) will commemorate Memorial Day with a ceremony on Monday, May 26 at 10:00 a.m. at the Bay Pines National Cemetery. This is the only National Cemetery in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties and the largest observance of Memorial Day with over 3,000 expected attendees. Veterans, their families and friends, and the general public are invited to attend.
To mark the occasion, the nearly 34,000 graves at the cemetery will be marked with U.S. flags to honor the men and women who served the nation.
The event will be hosted by Bay News 9 Anchor Holly Gregory, and will include musical performances, a firing salute, and taps performance. New to the event this year will be the Amputee Veterans of America Support Team (AVAST) – the only amputee color guard unit in the United States.
Guest speakers for the event include U.S. Rep. David Jolly, 13th Congressional District of Florida; Bay Pines VAHCS Director Suzanne M. Klinker; Saint Petersburg VA Regional Office Director Kerrie L. Witty; and Florida National Cemetery Assistant Director Maurice Roan. Ms. Annette Kirk, American Gold Star Mothers, will provide the keynote speech. Ms. Kirk is the mother of Pfc. Paul O. Cuzzupe II who gave his life in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan in 2010. Click here to download a copy of the event program.
Parking for the event is available nearby. Shuttles will provide transportation for guests from parking lots to the National Cemetery. The venue is handicapped accessible. A sign language interpreter will be available for the hearing impaired.
The event will take place outdoors. The Bay Pines VAHCS encourages all attendees to dress appropriately in the event of inclement weather. For further information, please contact the cemetery office at 727-398-9426.
Directions: I-275 to Exit 25 (38th Avenue North). West on 38th Avenue North about five miles to Tyrone Boulevard. Turn right onto Tyrone Boulevard and proceed approximately 2.5 miles. Turn left at 95th (this is the east entrance to the VA property). Follow that road about .25 miles and the cemetery will be on the left.
This event is open for media coverage. For advanced information, please contact Jason Dangel, Public Affairs Officer, at 727-398-9531 or 727-798-1531.
About the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System
The Bay Pines VAHCS is one of the nation’s leading VA healthcare systems, employing more than 3,800 medical professionals and support staff dedicated to providing the very best care to Veterans residing in southwest Florida. The organization is the fourth busiest VA health care system in the country in terms of patients served and is accredited by The Joint Commission, Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, and several other nationally recognized accrediting organizations. The Bay Pines VAHCS operates nine facilities to include the main medical center located in Bay Pines and outpatient clinics located in Bradenton, Cape Coral, Naples, Palm Harbor, Port Charlotte, Sarasota, St. Petersburg, and Sebring.