Members of the Navy League of the United States, Key West Council, organize the annual Memorial Day service to honor the military at Key West Cemetery.

The unmistakable melancholy of taps, escaping somberly from Jay Cheville’s bagpipes, signaled the end of the Memorial Day service in the Key West cemetery.

Organized by the Key West Council of the Navy League, the annual event drew more than 100 masked attendees to the USS Maine Memorial. 

Major James Blackburn, commanding officer of the Special Forces Underwater Operations School, thanked the generations of military men and women who gave everything in service to and protection of their country. 

“In each generation, brave young men and women will answer the call to defend their country. We pause today and bow our heads for the patriots who laid down their lives for freedom,” Blackburn said, urging Americans to thank a member of the military for their service and sacrifice. “A thank-you is free, but priceless when it comes from the heart.”

Michael Hudgins played “Amazing Grace” while representatives from the Navy League, VFW and Daughters of the American Revolution placed flowered wreaths at the military monument.

Command Chaplain Lt. Joseph Frana offers a benediction at the Memorial Day ceremony on May 25.
Major James Blackburn, commanding officer of the Special Forces Underwater Operations School, speaks at the Navy League’s Memorial Day Service at Key West Cemetery.
Ken Thompson and Abe Conn, representing VFW Post 3911, lay a wreath at the USS Maine Memorial.
Jay Cheville sounds the familiar notes of taps during the Memorial Day service.

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