May 21, 2013
A special Memorial Day Service will be held on Monday, May 27, 2013 at 9:30 a.m. at the Houston VA National Cemetery, located at 10410 Veterans Memorial Drive.
This year, the Department of Veterans Affairs is pleased to announce that Texas Air National Guard Commander, Colonel Kurt L. Leslie, will give the Memorial Day address. Leslie serves as the 147th Maintenance Group Commander, 147th Reconnaissance Wing, Texas Air National Guard, at Ellington Joint Reserve Base, in Houston, and has extensive experience in providing global combat maintenance support for MQ-1 Predator systems and aircraft. Leslie served in the United States Air Force for over eight years before joining the Texas Air National Guard. He was deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005 and again in 2007.
In addition to Leslie’s remarks, the event will feature a parade of colors and wreaths by numerous local Veterans’ organizations, ROTC units, and Boy and Girl Scout troops. All Boy and Girl Scout organizations in southeast Texas are invited to attend.
There will also be many symbolic highlights including a flyover by the U.S. Coast Guard; a performance of Taps; a cannon salute; Amazing Grace performed by Ian Martin; and a rifle salute by the Veterans of Foreign Wars District 4. Peggy Slay, president of the Houston Gold Star Mothers, will lead the pledge of allegiance.
The Memorial Day Service, honoring deceased United States servicemen and women, is free and open to the public.
Guests who wish to visit gravesites are encouraged to arrive prior to 8 a.m. or after 1 p.m. following the Memorial Day service.
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BACKGROUND INFORMATION: The Houston VA National Cemetery is the second largest national cemetery in the region, encompassing some 419 acres of a former dairy farm in northwest Houston. The cemetery's focal point and the site of all special observances is the horseshoe-shaped building at its center known as the Hemicycle. This exposed aggregate structure contains a chapel and a 75-foot bell tower and encloses a courtyard that can accommodate as many as 5,000 people. All veterans with general or better discharges, their spouses, and dependent children are eligible for burial in a national cemetery. Eligible veterans may receive a VA grave marker or headstone even if they are not buried in a national cemetery.
DRIVING DIRECTIONS: The Houston VA National Cemetery is located 15 miles northwest of downtown Houston. From Bush Intercontinental Airport, take John F. Kennedy Blvd. south to Beltway 8. Turn right onto Beltway 8 west and exit at Ella. Follow the feeder road west to the third traffic light. Turn left on Veterans Memorial Drive. Proceed to the first traffic light and turn left on T.C. Jester. The cemetery entrance is on the right.