Veterans remembrance ceremony held for the first time at Cedar Key Cemetery on Memorial Day

Updated: May. 31, 2021 at 6:15 PM EDT
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CEDAR KEY, Fla. (WCJB) -For the first time on Memorial Day a ceremony was held at the Cedar Key Cemetery in Cedar Key and several veterans and citizens came out to honors those who have lost their lives.

The event was held by the The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 15-1. Several members of that organization discussed what the military means to the city. Michelle Petersen, one of the organizers and a Navy Veteran described how many people from the island community has served in the military.

“I think it hit home with a lot of people, to see the flags to see the tombstones and to know that 147 residents of Cedar Key, where our annual population is only 700, joined the military and fight for everyone’s freedom. It’s awe inspiring for me,” said Petersen.

A small group from the Ocala Naval Sea Cadets came out and presented colors for the event. Tammy Slaughter, a cadet instructor, said that the group which is full of teenager from the ages of 11-to 17-years old are always happy to help out in North Central Florida.

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“We are grateful for every opportunity that we get to serve our community and communities surrounding Ocala and we absolutely accept every invitation that we are able to accept. We love the opportunity to show of the cadets,” said Slaughter.

The names of veterans who were buried at the cemetery was read aloud to help honor them on Monday. The veterans who helped organize the event, which they say was much better attended than previous ones which were held at city hall, reminisced about former colleagues and family that they think of first when this special day rolls around every year.

“I don’t want to get emotional. I think of Brian Groso. He was 20 and he went down in the C-2 in the Philippines Sea three years ago, two years ago sorry. And Donald Taylor, he was with me on the USS Baton. He perished in the Pentagon on the 9/11 attack. So two names, two names but a lifetime of memories,” said Petersen.

And another member of the organizers, Tabitha Lauer spoke about her grandfather. A man that was the reason she decided to serve her country.

“Just my Grandfather, He not only did he served our country but he also served his community and that is ingrained in me and that is the reason I’m here,” said Lauer.

The group says that they hope to hold ceremonies at the cemetery on both Memorial Day and Veterans Day for years to come.

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