Bay Pines VA to Hold Virtual Facebook LIVE Memorial Day Ceremony on May 25 - Bay Pines VA Healthcare System
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Bay Pines VA Healthcare System

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Bay Pines VA to Hold Virtual Facebook LIVE Memorial Day Ceremony on May 25

May 14, 2020

Bay Pines, Fla. — The Bay Pines VA Healthcare System (VAHCS) will commemorate Memorial Day with a virtual ceremony on Monday, May 25 at 10:00 a.m. Event spectators will be able to watch the ceremony via Facebook LIVE here.

“During this challenging time, nothing is more important to us than the health and well-being of the Veterans we have the privilege and honor of serving, their families, and those who support Veteran’s interests,” said Paul Russo, director, Bay Pines VA Healthcare System. “That is why we will be hosting this year’s Memorial Day Ceremony, virtually.”  

Guest speakers for the event include local leaders from the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System, St. Petersburg VA Regional Office, and Bay Pines National Cemetery. 

Ret. Col. Thomas G. Bowman, USMC will provide the keynote address. Bowman was commissioned in the United States Marine Corps through the NROTC Program at the University of Texas in 1969. From 1970 through 1975, he served as a platoon commander, company commander, and battalion, regimental, and division staff officer with the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Marine Divisions in Southeast Asia, Okinawa, and the U.S. After law school, he was assigned to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, S.C., where he served as a prosecutor, defense counsel, and Law Center Director. He then served as the Marine Corps Representative and Instructor of Law at the Naval Justice School and as a guest lecturer at the Naval War College, Newport, R.I., from 1983 to 1988. Most recently, Bowman served as the Deputy Secretary for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs from August 2017 till he retired in June 2018. Before his appointment as Deputy Secretary, Mr. Bowman was the Majority Staff Director of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. He has also served Veterans at VA for nearly ten years between 2002 and 2012, including assignment as Chief of Staff to two previous VA secretaries, Jim Nicholson and James Peake.

For further information about the event, please contact the Office of Public Affairs at 727-398-9531 or email  

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The Bay Pines VAHCS is one of the nation’s leading VA healthcare systems, employing over 4,300 medical professionals and support staff dedicated to providing the very best care to Veterans residing in southwest Florida. The organization is one of the largest VA health care systems 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, the Lee County Healthcare Center located in Cape Coral, and seven outpatient clinics located in Bradenton, Naples, Palm Harbor, Port Charlotte, Sarasota, St. Petersburg, and Sebring.