Jacksonville National Cemetery holds ceremony to honor fallen service members

Jacksonville National Cemetery holds ceremony to honor fallen service members

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The annual Memorial Day observance at the Jacksonville national cemetery gives families the chance to pay tribute to their fallen heroes.

The ceremony looked a lot different this year because of COVID-19.

Valerie Burks was among hundreds who came to the cemetery to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

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“This is a special day for us just to thank them,” said Burks.

The day holds a special meaning for her family. Her son Samuel L. Burks who served in the U.S. Army died in 2004.

“It’s been over six years; my son was 29 when he died of leukemia and he had done two tours in Iraq,” Burks added.

For many who served this holiday is personal.

“Sometimes the masks are getting wet because of tears so a lot of emotions being showed,” said U.S. Army veteran Roosevelt Knight Jr.

“This is something that we all should get out and support and continue to support,” explained Navy veteran Ace Wright.

Burks says military service is what her son wanted to do

“He was a very dedicated father and loved the military,” Burks said.

Now in the years after his death, she still carries his picture in her phone.

“He was tall and a very big guy. He loved momma’s cooking,” said Burks.

The flyover that was supposed to happen Monday afternoon got canceled because of the weather.