tampabay.com

Heroism not forgotten

Across the bay area, residents remember veterans and those who continue to serve our country.

By TIMES STAFF WRITERS
Published May 30, 2006


To Myrtle Stevens, the past and the present run together on Memorial Day.

"It's important to remember," she said at a service in Zephyrhills.

"And we've got a lot of boys in the service now, and we need to let them know that we support them no matter what."

Across the Tampa Bay area Monday, residents remembered:

PINELLAS: Rep. C.W. Bill Young spoke at the annual Memorial Day ceremony at Bay Pines National Cemetery in St. Petersburg and at Serenity Gardens Memorial Park in Largo.

"We've had too many deaths," Young said. "We've had too many injuries."

His wife, Beverly, sat on the front row wearing a "Support the Troops'' T-shirt.

During his speech, Young noted that President Bush on Monday signed into law the Respect for America's Fallen Heroes Act, which restricts protests at military funerals at national ceremonies.

CITRUS: In an observance at Fero Memorial Gardens, speakers read aloud the tolls of American dead: "World War I, 53,402 killed in action; World War II, 291,557 killed in action"; all the way to Iraq, "2,757 killed in action."

HERNANDO: Several hundred people gathered for a morning ceremony at Florida National Cemetery at Bushnell. About 3,500 were expected to visit the 500-acre cemetery, where 400 American flags lined the roads. Since the first interment in 1988, nearly 80,000 veterans have been buried here.

PASCO: About 65 people stood in the hot sun for a ceremony at Oakside Cemetery in Zephyrhills.

Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite was scheduled to give the keynote speech, but she was delayed at an earlier service in Land O'Lakes.

Arriving near the end, Brown-Waite pinned a ribbon to a memorial wreath and spoke only briefly.

"Those who serve the military serve us, and we must never ever forget that," she said.

HILLSBOROUGH: About 45 people - among them VFW comrades who served in World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam War and Desert Storm - took part in the day of remembrance.

They were joined by delegates from the Tampa chapter of the Buffalo Soldiers, members of the American Legion Post 167, families of the deceased and community leaders.