Mims, Florida--The nation's newest veterans' cemetery will be dedicated on Friday, November 20, 2015. The Cape Canaveral National Cemetery will be opened with a keynote address by the Honorable Robert A. McDonald, Secretary of Veterans Affairs. The 2:00 pm (Eastern Time) ceremony is set for one hour with preliminary activities starting at 1:00 pm. Greg Pallone of Central Florida News 13 will be the master of ceremonies and retired NASA astronaut Robert Springer will lead the Pledge of Allegiance. The Patrick Air Force Base Honor Guard, the Florida National Guard Honors Firing Party, and the 13th Army band will also participate. VA Undersecretary Ronald Walters, who heads the national cemetery division, has invited all Americans to the ceremony. For those who can't make it to the Space Coast on Friday, The Peripatetic Graveyard Rabbit will have video of the ceremony by mid afternoon Pacific time.
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, the 318 acre cemetery, located along U.S. Hwy. 1 in northern Brevard County, will serve the needs of 163,000 veterans in its service area for the next 100 years.
Although construction on the first phase of the cemetery estimated to hold 17,000 gravesites, will not be completed until May 2017, the VA's contractor, G&C Fab-Con LLC of Flemington, New Jersey, is ahead of schedule, according to Don W Murphy, director of the new cemetery. The early turnover of a portion of the cemetery will provide burial options for the next 10 years according to Murphy.
Families of eligible veterans may apply now for burial services. Families should call the National Cemetery Scheduling Office at 1-800-535-1117.
G&C Fab-Con LLC is a service disabled owned company which specializes in Veterans Affairs projects.
Murphy, the cemetery director, is an Army veteran of operation Desert Storm. He began his career with the VA in 1992 as a clerk typist, and by 1997 had worked his way up to deputy director of operations of Veterans Affairs' cemetery division in Washington, DC.
Cape Canaveral National Cemetery, 5525 US Highway 1, Mims, Florida--How to Get There:
From Orlando International Airport – Take 528 East 26 miles to 407 North (Kennedy Space Center), travel 5 miles to I-95, then North on I-95 for 19 miles to Exit 231.
From Melbourne/Southern Brevard County - Take I-95 North 50 miles to Exit 231.
From Daytona – Take I-95 South 30 miles to Exit 231.
From Exit 231 – Drive one mile to U.S. Highway 1, turn right and drive one mile, turn left on Huntington Road – Drive ¾ mile then turn right on Dixie Way – Ceremony area will be on the right.
From Mims or Titusville via U.S. Highway 1 – Travel north on U.S. Hwy 1, after entering Scottsmoor drive past the cemetery property and turn right on Huntington Road, follow direction signs to ceremony area.