Bay Pines VA to Hold Annual Memorial Day Ceremony May 30 - Bay Pines VA Healthcare System
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Bay Pines VA Healthcare System

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Bay Pines VA to Hold Annual Memorial Day Ceremony May 30

April 29, 2016

Bay Pines ceremony largest in Pinellas County; more than 3,000 expected

BAY PINES, FL —The Bay Pines VA Healthcare System (VAHCS) will commemorate Memorial Day with a ceremony on Monday, May 30 at 10:00 a.m. The event will take place at the Bay Pines National Cemetery located at 10,000 Bay Pines Blvd., St. Petersburg, FL 33708.

This is the only National Cemetery in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties and the largest observance of Memorial Day with more than 3,000 expected attendees. Veterans, their families and friends, and the general public are invited to attend. Prior to the ceremony, on Saturday, May 28, volunteers from the community will mark more than 35,000 graves at the cemetery with U.S. flags to honor the men and women who served the nation.

Speakers for the event will include U.S. Rep. David Jolly, 13th Congressional District of Florida and local VA leaders from the Bay Pines VAHCS, St. Petersburg VA Regional Office and Bay Pines National Cemetery. Master of ceremonies will be Bay News 9 senior reporter Melissa Eichman. The ceremony will also include musical performances by the Brass Ring Quintet, a firing salute, and taps performance.

Vietnam Veterans who attend the ceremony will receive a special lapel pin as part of the Bay Pines VA’s continued commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War.

Keynote speaker will be U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Gen. (ret.) Martin R. Steele. Lt. Gen. Steele rose from the rank of private to three-star general, serving three tours of duty on two continents, with a tenure as the longest serving Chief Operating Officer in the history of the Marine Corps. He culminated his military career as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans, Policies, and Operations at Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, in Washington, D.C. in August 1999.

Parking for the ceremony will be 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 ceremony will be held rain or shine. Please plan appropriately for inclement weather.

For further information about the event or to volunteer to help mark graves, please contact the cemetery office at 727-319-6479. This event is open for media coverage. For advanced information, please contact Jason Dangel, Public Affairs Officer, at 727-398-9531 or email

About the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System
The Bay Pines VAHCS is one of the nation’s leading VA healthcare systems, employing more than 4,000 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.