Memories of those who gave their lives in military service will ring in Memorial Day around the Jacksonville area.
Along with ceremonies at cemeteries and memorials, families can remember those who died in service at many other events from Jacksonville to Green Cove Springs.
The Wounded Warrior Project will join the Travis Manion Foundation for their annual Honor Project at the Jacksonville National Cemetery, 4083 Lannie Road, part of its expansion to 14 national cemeteries. Beginning at 8 a.m. Monday, volunteers will place hand-crafted Flags of Valor commemorative tokens atop the headstones of fallen heroes and pause to reflect on their service and sacrifice.
Since 2016, the two nonprofit groups have worked together to help thousands of veterans. The Jacksonville-based Wounded Warrior Project has invested more than $343 million in 218 organizations since 2012 that help wounded veterans and families nationwide.
Separately, the city of Jacksonville will host its annual Memorial Day Observance at 8:30 a.m. at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Wall, 1145 E. Adams St. The Navy Band Brass Quintet and Voices of Jacksonville will provide music, and the keynote speaker will be Rear Admiral James Aiken, commander of the U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command, U.S. Fourth Fleet. Free parking is available in Lots J and P near TIAA Bank Field.
The wall serves as a tribute to almost 1,700 Jacksonville-area heroes and is the second largest in the nation, behind only the Vietnam War Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C.
The annual St. Augustine Memorial Day Observance will take place at 10 a.m. Monday in the city’s National Cemetery at 104 Marine St. This ceremony will begin with music and a procession of flags from local veterans’ organizations. The keynote speaker will be Brig. Gen. Sean Boyette, director of the Joint Staff for the Florida National Guard. Local veterans who have died in the past year will be recognized and honored by the reading of their names and the ringing of the bell.
ST. JOHNS COUNTY
Memorial Day weekend is one of the busiest holiday weekends on St. Johns County’s beaches, so officials will offer two free shuttles from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday through Monday.
One shuttle runs from St. Augustine Beach City Hall at 2200 State Road A1A S. to the Fishing Pier parking lot
The Mickler’s Landing Beachfront Park shuttle runs from Cornerstone Park at 1046 State Road A1A N. to the Mickler’s parking lot.
The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, St. Augustine Beach Police Department and County Marine Rescue will patrol the beaches throughout the weekend. St. Johns County Marine Rescue lifeguards will be stationed along the beaches from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
On-beach driving is allowed between 8 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Residents and visitors can go to the St. Johns County Beach Services website for beach access updates.
GREEN COVE SPRINGS
The city’s 35th annual RiverFest will take place from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Memorial Day at Spring Park.
The annual event honors Memorial Day and celebrates the upcoming summer season. It includes a veteran recognition ceremony in partnership with the Clay County military veterans community. The ceremony will include a flyover by the Dreamland Squadron to honor those who gave their lives in the line of duty, along with a wreath laying and the playing of Taps. A military vehicle and memorabilia display is scheduled, presented by Camp Blanding Museum and the Military Vehicle Preservation Association.
Live entertainment is scheduled at the Spring Park Gazebo, and 50 craft and nonprofit booths will join a Kids’ Zone and local food trucks around the city pool. A fireworks display will end the day at 8:45 p.m.