As many Key Biscayners took part in the unofficial start of summer on Memorial Day, others gathered in somber remembrance of America’s war dead with a call to keep the memories of the fallen alive.
“Their memory is elevated by the living,” said State Rep. Vicki Lopez. “To truly honor their lives, we must share their stories.”
“They are ordinary people who by virtue of their service and sacrifice are extraordinary,” she added before a gathering of about 80.
Key Biscayne Police and Fire Departments presented the colors as Taps was played. Participants faced a wreath near the memorial on the Village Green.
Village Police and Fire Departments said there had been no major incidents during one of the busiest weekends of the year, although traffic was heavy.
At Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, some areas were closed and the ranger station reported the park was at 95% capacity by 1 p.m. Key Biscayne officers implemented the department’s traffic plan to make sure a lane serving the Towers condominium was clear.
At the morning ceremony, the keynote speaker was U.S. Coast Guard Command Master Chief Aaron Zimmer, who related several stories of heroism, including by officers interdicting smugglers.
“People often say thank you for your service, and we appreciate it. But it often, at least for me, it makes me a little uncomfortable. Because I know that anything that we do pales in comparison to those that have not made it home.”
In Washington, President Joe Biden marked Memorial Day with the traditional wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.
Biden was joined by first lady Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and Harris’ husband, Douglas Emhoff, for the 155th National Memorial Day Observance. He had a moment of contemplation in front of the wreath, which was adorned with flowers and a red, white and blue bow, and then bowed his head in prayer.
“We must never forget the price that was paid to protect our democracy,” Biden said later in an address at Memorial Amphitheater. “We must never forget the lives these flags, flowers and marble markers represent.”
Tony Winton is the editor-in-chief of the Key Biscayne Independent and president of Miami Fourth Estate, Inc. He worked previously at The Associated Press for three decades winning multiple Edward R. Murrow awards. He was president of the News Media Guild, a journalism union, for 10 years. Born in Chicago, he is a graduate of Columbia University. His interests are photography and technology, sailing, cooking, and science fiction.