Our nation is preparing to observe Memorial Day, in honor of the men and women who died while serving in the armed forces.
The American holiday, which falls on the last Monday of May each year, originally was known as Decoration Day. It began in the years following the Civil War and was declared an official federal holiday in 1971.
To mark the holiday weekend, several events and ceremonies are planned for the region. Here is a listing of some of those events.
- Lutz-Land O’ Lakes American Legion Post 108 will be placing flags at the Lutz cemetery May 27 and retrieving them May 30, both days at 9 a.m. The group also will be selling poppies, for a donation, at the Sunlake Publix, on Memorial Day, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Veterans Memorial Park and LeRoy Collins Jr. Veterans Museum, 3602 U.S. 301 N., in Tampa, will host its 20th annual Memorial Day ceremony May 28 at 11 a.m. The event will include patriotic songs, a keynote speech, a POW/MIA Missing Man Remembrance Celebration, a wreath presentation, a rifle salute and taps. Guests can bring lawn chairs. The park, monuments and museum are free and open to the public. For information, call (813) 744-5502.
- The Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, 4150 S. Suncoast Blvd., in Homosassa, will host a Memorial Day event May 29 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with special activities to recognize and honor those who served our country. Volunteers will be collecting items (toilet paper, paper towels, trash bags and laundry soap) for the Mission in Citrus Homeless Veterans Shelter. Visitors can support the Honor Flight network and write notes to veterans of World War II and Korean War. For information, call Susan Strawbridge at (352) 628-5445, ext. 1002, or Carla Nicklas at (352) 257-1480.
- The Florida National Cemetery, 6502 S.W. 102nd Ave., in Bushnell, will have a Memorial Day ceremony May 29 at 11 a.m., in the Assembly Area. For information, call (352) 793-7740.
- Oldsmar will host its annual Memorial Day ceremony May 29 at 10 a.m., at Veterans Memorial Park, 250 Shore Drive E., in Oldsmar. The keynote speaker will be Brian Anderson, CEO of Veterans Alternative. Local singer Malori Shaw will perform. The outdoor event will take place rain or shine. Admission is free.
Additionally, some local attractions, including The Museum of Science and Industry, at 4801 E. Fowler Ave., and Lowry Park Zoo, at 1101 W. Sligh Ave. have special offers for members of the military.
The Museum of Science and Industry is offering free admission all summer for active-duty members of the United States military and their families from May 27 through the end of Labor Day weekend, Sept. 4.
Veterans can visit MOSI for free on Labor Day weekend, and can bring up to five family members. For information, visit MOSI.org.
CORRECTION: This year, members of the military can purchase discounted tickets for The Lowry Park Zoo at MacDill Air Force Base. For more information, call (813) 935-8552. There also is a crash sale this holiday weekend on the greater one-horned rhino encounter and behind-the-scenes tour. To learn more, visit TLPZ.org/tours.
Published May 24, 2017