Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the City will honor veterans with a commemorative video this year in place of its annual Veterans Day ceremony at Evergreen Cemetery. The video, featuring inspirational messages from local veterans, was prerecorded at the City’s only municipal cemetery and will be posted on the City’s Facebook page and broadcast on Cox Cable Channel 12 Wednesday, Nov. 11 beginning at noon.
Evergreen Cemetery is the final resting place of 1,100 area veterans who served in every conflict from the second Seminole War (1835-1842) through recent engagements in Afghanistan and Iraq. Established in 1856, historical figures from Gainesville’s past also are buried there. The City acquired the 53-acre cemetery in 1944.
“The City, in conjunction with the Evergreen Cemetery Association of Gainesville, is planning to build a veterans monument and establish a veterans yard onsite where we’ll honor our military veterans. We will observe future Veterans Day and Memorial Day ceremonies, as well as other special events, at this place of remembrance,” said Russell Etling, cultural affairs manager in the department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs.
As part of the project, a regional call to artists will be issued in early 2021 for the design of the monument.
“We envision the monument as a work of public art as well as a tribute to our veterans and those future generations who will serve our nation,” said Kathy McGlone, president of the Evergreen Cemetery Association of Gainesville, Inc., who is featured on the video and directs the veterans monument fundraising effort.