A Memorial Day event to honor fallen U.S. service members is returning to the New Bern National Cemetery after two years at the Craven County Courthouse due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Craven County Veterans’ Council hosts its annual Memorial Day Ceremony from 11 a.m. to noon Monday at the cemetery at 1711 National Ave.
The program consists of an invocation, the presentation of the National Colors, the singing of the National Anthem, the Pledge of Allegiance, the introduction of Gold Star Mothers, and the reading of the Gettysburg Address. The guest speaker is Major Gen. Kurt J. Ryan, who retired from the U.S. Army after serving 34 years.
The close of the program follows with the placing of veteran and community wreaths and concludes with the sounding of Taps.
Gary Gillette, chairman of the Craven County Veterans' Council, said the organization has missed not having the annual event at the cemetery.
"We've been fortunate to be able to hold it at the county courthouse but it's not quite the same as being at the cemetery," Gillette said. "It's a true honor to be at the cemetery and to be able to remember and honor all our brothers and sisters who are buried there."
Limited seating is provided at the event. It is suggested that attendees bring personal weather protection and lawn chairs. This is a rain or shine event.
"We recommend that attendees arrive early," Gillette said. "We also ask that they are considerate of the residential location of the cemetery and do not park in the driveways of those who live in the area."
The Craven County Veterans’ Council is composed of representatives of eleven Craven County Veteran Organizations and Friends of the Council.
The New Bern National Cemetery, established on Feb. 1, 1867, was initially used to reinter remains from the numerous battlefield cemeteries around the area, including nearly 1,000 unknown soldiers and the remains of Union soldiers who died at the Battle of New Bern. As of the end of 2005, there were 7,517 interments there. The cemetery is currently closed to new interments.
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This article originally appeared on Sun Journal: Veterans' Council resumes Memorial Day ceremony at National Cemetery