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From Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania NMP News

On Monday, May 28, the National Park Service will join with the community in honoring the nation’s fallen soldiers at the annual commemorative ceremony at the Fredericksburg National Cemetery. The program will begin at noon and will last about 40 minutes. This program will culminate a weekend that will include, on Saturday night, the illumination of the National Cemetery with more than 15,000 candles.

This year’s keynote speaker will be Kirsten Talken-Spaulding, veteran, daughter of a Navy pilot lost while serving in Vietnam in 1969, and presently the Superintendent at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park.  Talken-Spaulding was commissioned in the US Navy in 1990 and attended Officer Candidate School at the Naval Training Center San Diego. She served as a Navy Chaplain in the reserves. Her father, LCDR Talken began his service in 1958 and was lost at sea while serving aboard the USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63).  While aircraft debris was recovered, his body was not.  He was the Kitty Hawk’s last loss in her 1969 cruise.  As the daughter of one who made the ultimate sacrifice for his nation, Ms. Talken-Spaulding will reflect on the meaning of Memorial Day, the sacrifice of individuals and families, and the legacy of those men and women who have given all for their nation.

For the seventh year in a row, the program will be preceded by a procession through the streets to the National Cemetery. The event recalls a long-ago tradition of Fredericksburg citizens—many of them former slaves—gathering at Shiloh Baptist Church (Old Site) and processing to the National Cemetery on Memorial Day. The re-created 23d United States Colored Troops will lead the way. The procession will depart from Shiloh Baptist Church (Old Site), 801 Sophia Street at 10:45 a.m.

For additional information about Memorial Day activities, call the Fredericksburg Battlefield Visitor Center at 540-693-3200 x4040.  The Visitor Center and adjacent National Cemetery are located at 1013 Lafayette Boulevard, Fredericksburg, 22401.

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