FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A moving Memorial Day ceremony took place Monday in Fort Lauderdale to honor the lives of fallen veterans.
The annual event, one of the largest in Broward County, was held at the Lauderdale Memorial Park Cemetery. It’s the city’s sole monument honoring all five branches of the U.S. military.
Dozens of veterans attended the event.
“I think it’s important that we recognize our veterans, those who have served in our community. Those who gave the ultimate sacrifice,” Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis said.
During the ceremony, a family member of each deceased veteran presented the flags flying in the cemetery.
After beginning with a live rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” officials led the crowd in a special recognition of veterans, honoring every serviceman and woman in attendance, along with their families.
Among the attendees was 102-year-old veteran Donald Dennis, who fought against the Nazis during World War II. His daughter, Shari Johnson, spoke on his behalf.
“I’m very proud of my dad,” she said. “We’ve got a real gem here — and we’re all so proud of him and so blessed that we still have him.”
The ceremony concluded with a dove release, followed by the playing of “Taps.” It was a final commemoration for those who gave it all in defense of our freedoms.
“It’s just part of letting people know that their government appreciates all that they do and that the community appreciates all of that,” Trantalis said.
Johnson said she hopes Dennis will be able to attend next year’s Memorial Day event.