‘I enjoy the camaraderie’: Veterans gather at Florida National Cemetery for Veterans Day

Local News

BUSHNELL, Fla. (WFLA) – Hundreds of veterans, their family members and patriotic Americans gathered at the nation’s second busiest national cemetery for Veteran’s Day.

The Florida National Cemetery hosts the Veterans Day ceremony every year. For the veterans who gather for remembrance, it’s a chance to be around people who understand them.

“I enjoy the camaraderie. It’s all around you,” said Edwin Mumau, a Vietnam-era veteran whose son, Edwin Mumau Jr., is buried at the cemetery.

“You meet one veteran, another veteran, you automatically connect,” said Garner G. Daugherty, a veteran who served for nearly 30 years.

Every war from World War II to Operation Enduring Freedom was represented in Bushnell.

Irving Locker, who retired as a Staff Sgt. in the Army, landed on Utah Beach on D-Day, June 6, 1944.

Irving Locker, 95, World War II veteran

“We went in antiaircraft, antitank and artillery. Unbelievable from D-Day right on through. The Americans stopped at the Elbe River then I went into Berlin,” he said.

Last week, Locker turned 95 years old.

“I still speak because people have to know what went on. We had no toilets, no sinks, no showers, we lived in the ground and people have no idea,” he said.

At a time when there is much discussion about division in America, to some, days like Monday tell a different story.

“It shows that we are together. People may think we’re divided but we’re not. We’re one American cultural experiment,” said Roderick Thomas, executive director of the Florida National Cemetery.

There are 127,000 grave sites and 168,000 members of the military and their family members buried at the cemetery in Bushnell.

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