Observed on the last Monday of May, Memorial Day is a solemn day of remembrance in honor of those who lost their lives in U.S. military service. Every year on the Sunday before, Veterans Memorial Park of Pensacola holds a ceremony commemorating the occasion. The event, which takes place on-site, usually includes a presentation of the Colors, singing of the National Anthem along with other patriotic musical performances, the presentation and laying of wreaths, and guest speakers. The event is open to all members of the public.
The Memorial Day Ceremony is an important opportunity for the local community, The Park Foundation, and Veteran organizations from across the country to come together and honor our friends and loved ones who left to serve our Nation and never made it home. We publish event schedules and updates here and on social media, so be sure to check back for information on this year's upcoming events.
In 2023, Foundation President Rob Doss recorded a special Memorial Day Message for the Pensacola and Veteran Communities.
Maj. USMC, Ret.
Hello. My name is Rob Doss; I’m president of the Veterans Memorial Park Foundation in Pensacola, Florida.
For generations, young American men and women have stood, raised their right hand, and sworn an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. They, as young people full of life, vigor, and opportunity ahead of them, swore that oath not knowing what their country would ask of them; they simply raised their hand and said, “Take me. I’ll go.”
Maj. USMC, Ret.
And it’s these good and honorable men and women who, through the generations for nearly 250 years, have embraced that oath with all of their energy and commitment and then have proceeded to liberate the oppressed, lift up the discouraged, and give new hope and vision to the defeated in the four corners of the earth. They’ve placed our American freedom and ideals ahead of their own personal dreams and aspirations on the loneliest and most dangerous outposts on the planet.
We know very well the answer to the question that President Ronald Reagan once posed about the heroes of Normandy when he asked, “Where do we find such men?”
We can ask the same question today: Where do we find such men and women who fought and died at Normandy and in countless other battles before and since? You know where we find them… They come from homes and communities like ours. They’re our friends, our neighbors, and our classmates. They’re our brothers and sisters. They’re our parents and our aunts and uncles. They’re our grandchildren. They’re our husbands and wives. And, they’re our sons and daughters.
Their service is a part of all of us, and we’re a part of their service. That connection is what lies behind the importance of the words we speak when we say with all sincerity, “Thank you for your service.” It’s not only an expression of gratitude, it’s also a reflection of a kindred connection that we have to their service that, while we don’t always understand it, we appreciate it. As we appreciate it, we recognize that it’s impossible to place a value on it. Afterall, how do you place a value on something for which people are willing to give everything they are and have, and everything they will ever be and have?
On Sunday, May 28 at 1 PM, the day before Memorial Day, we’ll gather again at Veterans Memorial Park to pay tribute to the long line of citizens who selflessly stayed true to their oaths and laid down their lives for our great Nation.
We hope to see you there.
Maj. USMC, Ret.
Dan Shugart is the sports director at WEAR-TV3 in Pensacola. Dan began his broadcasting career in 1980 after graduating from UCLA in 1979. His first broadcasting job came when he took a part-time news reporting job at WBSR-Radio in Pensacola. That fall, he was the play-by-play announcer for the Pensacola Wings semi-pro football team, which led to his hiring at WEAR in March, 1981.
He worked as a weekend sports anchor and general assignment news reporter until he was promoted to sports director in December, 1982. Dan received the Southern League’s Media Award in 2015, has twice earned the Associated Press’ award for the top story in Florida, and was cited by Special Olympics as Florida’s broadcaster of the year for his work with that organization. He has coached youth basketball and he joined his father in the Pensacola Sports Association Hall of Fame when he was elected to that honor in 2006.
Memorial Day 2023
The MISSION of Training Squadron TEN is to provide world class Primary & Intermediate Student Naval Flight Officer training and prepare aircrew to fly with courage, fight with honor, and lead with commitment serving as the "Gateway to the Fleet."
On May 23rd 2023, Seville Rotary Club of Pensacola placed an array of flags from their military fundraising effort, Flags for Heroes, at the Veterans Memorial Park. Veteran’s Memorial Park Foundation were honored to be selected as one of four beneficiaries of this effort focused on providing funds to support our military heroes, both active-duty and retired, and their families. The flags remained on display until May 30th, and were an amazing commemoration for the Memorial Day Ceremony.
Pictured from left to right: CAPT. Robert "Hoot" Gibson, Pensacola City Councilmember Teniandé Broughton, NASA Astronaut Dr. Margaret Rhea Seed, and Mayor Grover Robinson.
Captain "Hoot" Gibson with Sailors from NAS Pensacola & Whiting Field.
Memorial Day 2022
Captain Robert "Hoot" Gibson
Many families, Churches, and other organizations wish to lay wreaths at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall South and other monuments as expressions of love and support of those whose names are enshrined there. During certain park events, the wreaths are announced and incorporated into the ceremony. If you would like to participate, please submit the contact form below.
For over 30 years, Veterans Memorial Park of Pensacola has been a meeting place for local and national organizations and companies to interact with Veterans and their families. During certain Park events, we allow these organizations to host booths and exhibit their services to the community. Because spaces are limited and we need to ensure that our exhibitors share our mission of serving and honoring Veterans, The Veterans Memorial Park Foundation of Pensacola requires exhibitors to complete the application below.
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