Hearts are heavy for veterans, friends and families attending ceremony

_U4G8719_emlHistoric City News photographer, Mark Cubbedge, attended this morning’s Memorial Day ceremonies at the St Augustine National Cemetery where American flags were placed at the headstones of each marked gravesite.

Lt. Col. Ron Birchall was the master of ceremonies during the Memorial Day “Massing of the Colors” produced by the Ancient City Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America.

As Faith Miller sang the National Anthem, members of the St Johns County Sheriff’s Office stand at attention; retired Florida National Guard sergeant major Ray Quinn is seen in the background as he salutes.

Brigadier General Bob Branyon, addressed an audience of several hundred civilian and military attendees that included former St Augustine High School teacher, and 85-year-old Korean War Veteran, Richard Bassett. Branyon is Chief of Staff of the Florida National Guard.

Salute Officer and Nease High School Naval JROTC Cadet, Micaela Heinrich, rang the bell after the reading of each St Johns County veteran’s name that has passed away since Veteran’s Day.

In one photo, an unidentified child places a flower at the grave of a fallen warrior.

At the conclusion of the emotionally charged ceremonies, John Donlon played TAPS; an all-too-frequent assignment for the St Johns County Sheriff’s Commander who is a member of the department’s Honor Guard.

© 2013 Mark Cubbedge for Historic City News

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