The names of fallen soldiers buried at Evergreen Cemetery are read aloud to the gathered crowd. (Morgan Plotka/WUFT News)

Gainesville’s Evergreen Cemetery hosts Memorial Day service to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice


GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Gainesville’s Evergreen Cemetery Memorial Day service held on Monday offered a chance for community connection to veterans, active-duty servicemen and women, and their loved ones.

Kim Davis, Director of Alachua County Services, is a Navy veteran and former member of the National Guard. She said this event serves a broader purpose than just honoring those who gave their lives while serving our country.

“As a community,” she said, “We veterans bond together and we become a veteran family.”

Retired Army Major General Dave Hill spoke to the dozens who gathered to pay their respects. “Events like this,” he said, “are opportunities for veterans and soldiers to bond – and what better place than a cemetery?”

He recalled receiving his assignment during the Vietnam War while living in Washington, D.C., and the lives he saw lost afterward.

“This is a day of remembrance for me,” he said, “and is not a day for partying and getting drunk.”

Dozens gathered Monday morning to honor fallen service members in observance of Memorial Day. (Morgan Plotka/WUFT News)

Forest Hope, who was raised in Gainesville and attended Gainesville High School, served in the Marine Corps during the Vietnam War and spoke about the people who fought in the war and their sacrifice.

“Since Vietnam, many men have been sent to many countries to fight,” he said. “Too many have died. We have them buried all over the world in all seven seas. But from Vietnam, there are still 1,579 missing. Missing in action.”

An American flag marks the grave of a veteran at Gainesville’s Evergreen Cemetery. (Morgan Plotka/WUFT News)

Hope encouraged the audience to engage with veterans every day not just Memorial Day, impressing the importance of what we can learn from them and also to let them know someone cares.

Col. Jere Cook attended the event as a guest with his wife, Patty. Cook was in the Air Force for 38 years and came to mark the somber holiday as a remembrance of his and his brother’s former services. He said he is proud to be a part of the Gainesville community because of events like this.

“I am fortunate to be here and able to share my thoughts and feelings towards the community who honor my time in the Air Force,” he said.

Mimi Carr is a board member of the Evergreen Cemetery of Gainesville Association which helps organize the annual ceremony. “I was very impressed with the citizen activism that was involved with the board and with this cemetery,” said Carr. “How they embraced it and want to not forget our history.”

About Morgan Plotka

Morgan is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing

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