Hundreds gathered for annual Memorial Day program at Chattanooga National Cemetery

Hundreds gathered for annual Memorial Day program at Chattanooga National Cemetery

May 27th, 2013 by Staff Report in Local - Breaking News

Steve Helton, honor guard member with the American Legion Post 95, unrolls his American Flag prior to the Memorial Day ceremony at the Chattanooga National Cemetery Monday.

Photo by Tim Barber/Times Free Press.

There was more Old Glory than you could count as hundreds gathered under the Monday morning sun to honor veterans and their families at the Chattanooga Area Veterans Council's annual Memorial Day program at Chattanooga National Cemetery.

County commissioners, state legislators and Congressional staffers joined the masses in honoring those who have served in the Armed Forces. The crowd joined in an a cappella rendition of "God Bless America" shortly before a 21-gun salute and the playing of taps on a bugle.

More than 51,000 veterans and eligible family members are buried in the national cemetery, organizers said. Last year, at least 1,100 were put to rest there.

"It's this special place that makes our solemn day even more meaningful," Mayor Andy Berke said in his address.

"This place reminds us of the best of us," he said, "not just on Memorial Day, but every day."