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Remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice

By Staff | May 28, 2011

Many Memorial Day services and activities will be held in Cape Coral and throughout Lee County this weekend to honor veterans.
In the Cape, a Memorial Day Remembrance Service will be held at Coral Ridge Funeral Home and Cemetery, 1630 S.W. Pine Island Road, on Monday, May 30, at 10 a.m. in the Veterans Honor Garden.
Chuck Warren, dignity memorial homeless veterans burial chairman, said approximately 400 people attend the service every year, which is open to veterans and the public. This is the 21st year that the Remembrance Service has been held.
“The service brings back the realization that there are people out there that gave their lives for our country and freedom,” Warren said, adding that it is a remembrance for the ones that have passed away.
The service will begin with a call to order with the posting of the colors with Piper George Cook with the Lee County Pipes and Drums, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. Cape Coral High School JROTC student Alyssa Kalugdan will sing “America the Beautiful,” which will be followed by an invocation from Chaplain Major Vincent Cummings.
The Sun-Sations barbershop quartet will sing the “National Anthem.”
The service also will include a reading of the names of all the veterans that Coral Ridge Funeral Home and Cemetery has served, along with the names that have been etched on their Wall of Honor.
There will be paper and pencils for families that wish to take an etching of their loved one’s name on the wall, Warren said.
Bob Rieser, V.F.W. Post 8463 past commander, and Colonel Bill Deile, a Cape Coral city councilman, will be the guest speakers for the event.
Rieser, a Vietnam veteran who served in the Army Infantry from 1970-1971 said he has been a speaker for the last three or four years. This year he said his speech will be about The Greatest Generation, World War II veterans.
“I have a good one,” he said about his speech. “I am ready.”
Rieser said he enjoys speaking at the service because he speaks from the heart.
Memorial Day is not a car sales day, he said, but rather a day to honor and remember veterans.
“If we didn’t have the service we wouldn’t have the freedoms we do,” Rieser said. He said the service is important because World War II veterans paid the price for the freedoms that Americans have today.
Deile said his speech will address supporting, honoring and remembering veterans. He said it is important that we honor our deceased, support those who are currently serving and their families, and remember those who gave their lives.
Deile has presented a speech at the Coral Ridge Funeral Home and Cemetery Memorial Day service for the past two or three years.
After the speeches are done the quartet will sing “God Bless the USA.” A wreath presentation, a gun salute by VFW Post 8463, Taps and then “God Bless America” will be sung by Kalugden.
Ken Whiteside, with the Southwest Florida White Doves, will release 21 white doves before the closing benediction by Cummings.
The event also will include a ceremonial fly-over by a UH-1 Huey helicopter from the Lee County Mosquito Control District.
“This is one of the most important things I am involved with every year and it is my honor and privilege to serve our veterans and the families of all those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom,” Warren said about the annual service.
Refreshments will follow.
Other Memorial Day activities that will be held include:
Fort Myers Memorial Gardens Funeral Home & Cemetery will hold a Memorial Day Remembrance on Monday, May 30, at 9:30 a.m. Congressman Connie Mack will be the special guest speaker and a complimentary cookout will follow. Memorial Gardens is at 1589 Colonial Blvd. in Fort Myers.
n All Florida Blood Center branch units will hold a MASH Memorial Day weekend blood drive. Those who donate blood will receive a MASH T-shirt and $10 Darden restaurant gift card. To find a location visit www.floridabloodcenters.org.
n A car show will be held in the Historic Fort Myers River District on Saturday from 5-8 p.m. as hundreds of cars line up along the cobblestone streets. Oldies of Tommy Tunes will also fill the air Saturday night.
n On Sunday the Ella Pepper Center will present a Memorial Day service in Centennial Park at 4 p.m.
n The Edison and Ford Winter Estates will provide free admission for veterans and their families on Monday from 9 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Veterans will also receive a discount on merchandise purchased from the museum store. To receive free admission veterans must present their VA identification card. A recreated United States Navy Memorial table will be on display to honor service men and women who are POWs, MIAs and those who lost their lives in service.