MANATEE -- Memorial Day will bring host of parades, celebrations and solemn ceremonies:
n 9 a.m. -- The Manatee County Veterans Council invites the public to its annual Memorial Day service conducted at Veterans Park behind Manatee Memorial Hospital. The service starts at 9 a.m. Scheduled speakers are Rep. Vern Buchanan and Jessica McVay, commandant of Detachment 588 of the Marine Corps League. Call Don Courtney at 941-745-9564.
n 8:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. -- Kirby Stewart American Legion Post 24, 2000 75th St. W., Bradenton, will conduct a Memorial Day procession to the resting place of its namesake at Fogartyville Cemetery, 4200 Third Ave. N.W., Bradenton, for a graveside service. The Post 24 Honor Guard and Legion Riders along with members from other Legion organizations will accompany the procession, which departs Post 24 at 8:30 a.m. The procession will return to Post 24 for a second memorial service at 11 a.m. A $5-per-plate lunch will be served. Call Marty Leise at 941-209-2212.
n 10 a.m. -- The City of Sarasota and Sarasota Patriotic Observance Committee will host the annual Memorial Day parade at 10 a.m., beginning at Main Street and Osprey Avenue. Afterward, a ceremony
will be held at Chaplain J.D. Hamel Park at Main Street and Gulfstream Avenue at approximately 11 a.m. Speaker is Sarasota's Scott Bill, whose son Brian was among 22 Navy Seals who died in Afghanistan Aug. 6, 2011 when their helicopter was shot down. Brian Bill earned four Bronze Stars with Valor, a Purple Heart and two Combat Action Ribbons. Call Jerry Derrick at 941-861-2899 or Jan Thornburg at 941-954-2613.
n 12:30-4 p.m. -- The Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary, 7101 Palmer Blvd. Sarasota, is holding a Salute to the Troops with free admission for active military and their immediate families. Gates will be open from 12:30-4 p.m. An educational animal demonstration will be daily at 1:30 p.m. Admission is $15 for adults, $7 for children 12 and younger. Children 2 and under are free. Visit www.BigCatHabitat.org or call 941-371-6377.
-- Herald staff report