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County Veterans Official to Speak at Great Lakes National Cemetery

Public Date: 11/3/2011 12:00 AM
Contact: Bill Mullan, Media and Communications Officer
Phone Number: 248-858-1048

Pontiac, Michigan -- Oakland County's top veterans official will be the keynote speaker at the 7th Annual Veterans Day Ceremony at Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly, Michigan.  Michael W. Zehnder, director of the Department of Public Services, oversees the Veterans' Services Division.

"I consider it not only a privilege, but an absolute honor to be part of this special day," Zehnder said. "We have a moral obligation to honor our veterans – not just on Memorial Day or Veterans Day, but every day."

The Veterans Day Ceremony begins at 11:00 a.m. Friday, November 11, 2011 at the Great Lakes National Cemetery, 4200 Belford Road in Holly, Michigan. The ceremony will feature an invocation by the Rev. Steven L. Woodford, chaplain to the Michigan Air National Guard; presentation of colors and rifle salute by the Marine Corps League Flint Detachment No. 155; the New Century Chorale and Grand Blanc High School Chorale singing the National Anthem; a cannon salute from A Battery, 1-119th FA in Port Huron; a wreath presentation by members of all service branches; and the playing of Taps by Ric Winston.

Zehnder has had a distinguished military and veterans career which began in the United States Marine Corps in Vietnam and has culminated in ensuring Oakland County's more than 70,000 veterans and their families have access to their state and federal veterans benefits. In addition, at the direction of Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, Zehnder was solely responsible for convincing officials in Washington, D.C. to build the Great Lakes National Cemetery in Oakland County in 2005.

"Veterans knew that freedom is not free.  It comes on the installment plan.  If you don't pay the price, it's taken away," Zehnder said.

About Great Lakes National Cemetery
The Great Lakes National Cemetery officially opened October 17, 2005. It is the final resting place of more than 13,200 veterans and their dependents. The Avenue of Flags, which is located just inside the main entrance to the cemetery, has 100 flagpoles erected. For more information about the cemetery, click on

About Oakland County Veterans' Services Division
Oakland County Veterans' Services helps veterans and their families obtain and maintain all veterans related benefits from federal, state, and local government agencies. The goal of the Veterans' Services is to provide outstanding service to the more than 70,000 veterans and their families who reside in Oakland County by maximizing the receipt of veterans benefits and eliminating or reducing the frustration and confusion that go along with the process. For more information, go to

For media inquiries only, please contact Bill Mullan, Media and Communications Officer, at (248) 858-1048.