The Chattanooga Area Veterans Council and its host organization, Ernie Pyle Chapter 1945 of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, will conduct the annual Memorial Day service at National Cemetery on Monday, May 27.
Guest speaker will be Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke.
The musical prelude begins at 10:30 a.m., and the program will follow at 11 a.m. Chattanooga's National Cemetery is at the corner of Holtzclaw and Bailey avenues.
Memorial Day is set aside to honor military personnel who died in the service of their country, particularly those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle. The holiday was previously called Decoration Day and was originally intended as a commemoration of soldiers who died in the service. Its scope was expanded after World War I to include all Americans who have served in war.
The program will include the presentation of colors by Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 203 and the participating veterans organizations; a musical medley by the Choo Choo Chorus; recognition of Gold Star family members (mothers, fathers and spouses who have lost a child or spouse in the service of their country); a 21-gun salute and the playing of "Taps."
In case of rain, the program will be held at the National Guard Armory, 1801 S. Holtzclaw Ave., a half-mile south of the cemetery.
On Saturday, May 25, Boy Scouts from the regional Cherokee Area Council will place an American flag on each of the approximately 45,000 gravesites within the cemetery.
Grafe Studio Floral Artists will set up a stand Monday to give away roses as part of a nationwide Memorial Day Flowers program. Each visitor will receive two roses: one to place on a headstone to honor someone who served in the armed forces and one to take home. To help hand out roses, call 423-468-4172.
For more information on the memorial program, contact Lt. Col. Chris Cole, U.S. Army, retired, and member of the Ernie Pyle Chapter 1945 Military Order of the Purple Heart, at chrismoph @yahoo.com.