Friday, May 21st, 2010

Anderson-McQueen Family Tribute Centers along with a handful of local St. Petersburg, Fla., businesses, is working to highlight the importance of proper flag retirement this Memorial Day weekend—allowing the general public to discard worn or tattered flags in the respectable manner in which they deserve.  According to the United States Code– Title 4, Chapter 1, Section 8: “The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.”

Anderson-McQueen is proud to provide a flag retirement service for the Tampa Bay area.  Flag retirement boxes used to collect flags that have reached the end of their service will be cremated in accordance with federal guidelines courtesy of Anderson-McQueen. Those ashes will then be placed at the soon-to-be-completed veteran’s memorial located at their Northeast St. Petersburg location.

“It is so very important that we give this, the emblem of freedom and sacrifice the honor that it deserves, especially on Memorial Day,” says John McQueen of Anderson-McQueen.  “We hope that through this initiative we can not only educate our community as to the importance of proper flag disposal but also provide them with a convenient and easy way to do so.”

Permanent St. Petersburg drop off locations include:

  • Mariner’s Car Wash  at 3338 4th Street, North
  • Ace Hardware – at 2739 Dr Martin Luther King Jr Street, North
  • Anderson-McQueen Family Tribute Center locations:

Northeast St. Petersburg Family Tribute Center
2201 Dr. M.L. King Street North
St. Petersburg FL 33704
Telephone: (727) 822-2059

Tyrone Family Tribute Center
7820 38th Avenue North
St. Petersburg FL 33710
Telephone: (727) 347-6636

Special Memorial week drop off locations begins on May 24 through June 3 include:

  • Publix  in the Northeast Shopping Center – 200 37th Avenue,  North
  • Northeast Presbyterian Church – at  4400 Shore Acres Boulevard NE
Veteran’s Benefits
Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

designWe received this question, and thought we’d share the answer we provided her with everyone. It’s all useful information!

“My husband got an offer for a free grave at a local private cemetery because he is a veteran. What other benefits can we receive because of his service?”

Any veteran discharged under conditions other than dishonorable, is entitled to burial in one of the national cemeteries set aside by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. In addition to this award, the cost of perpetual care at that cemetery, the opening and closing of the grave, and a cemetery grave liner (which holds the casket to prevent the grave from sinking) is all provided to the veteran, and his eligible spouse without cost.

Regardless of where you choose to be buried, the Veteran’s Administration will provide a 12″ by 24″ bronze grave marker, a burial flag, and a Presidential Memorial Certificate, signed by the current president of the United States, to your next of kin, if requested by him or her. Some families choosing burial at a national cemetery are eligible for reimbursement of transportation expenses.

If a private cemetery is offering him a free grave space, you’d be smart to ask some important questions:

  • Is the free grave a conditional based upon any other purchases from the cemetery?
  • What if any restrictions are placed upon the marking of the grave?
  • Is there a cost for setting the complimentary marker provided by the VA on the gravesite?

Make sure that your questions are fully answered, and that the complete offer is made in writing.

Our professionals can advise veterans and their families as to their burial rights. Call on us today – as veterans of funeral service, we’re here to serve!

Honoring the Lives of Our Military: Our National Cemetery System
Thursday, October 1st, 2009

baypinesIn 1863, a young soldier left his family’s Illinois farm at the age of eighteen to fight in the Civil War. Mason Bryant was never seen again. His parents and siblings never knew what happened, how he died, or where he was buried. Today, Bryant’s descendants keep his memory alive with a government marker placed in his honor at the family cemetery.

Private Bryant was one of thousands of Civil War soldiers who never received a formal burial. His story, and that of his family’s, is woven into the fabric of our national cemetery system, created in part to ensure that military families never suffer anguish like this again.

Knowing that a loved one received the respect afforded by a formal burial helps families see death differently. The quartermaster officers who organized and managed the burials of 25,000 soldiers during the American Revolution provided military families with closure. Parents knew where their sons were buried. Although they grieved, they found peace in that knowing.

unknownsoldierThere was no way, however, anyone could have anticipated the Civil War or the 620,000 who sacrificed their lives. The small lots purchased by the government near battlefield hospitals were not sufficient to handle the soaring casualties. Wives lost husbands. Children lost fathers. And they never learned how their loved ones died or where they were buried.

President Lincoln and Congress stepped in a year after the war began and empowered the military “to purchase cemetery grounds and cause them to be securely enclosed, to be used as a national cemetery for the soldiers who shall die in the service of the country.” This defined the concept of a national cemetery system, and within the year, 14 national cemeteries were established.

Five years later in 1867, the first National Cemetery Act was passed. It provided $750,000 and direction on construction and maintenance for national cemeteries. This important legislation created 47 new cemeteries and offered more families the opportunity to bury their sons and husbands closer to home.

sarasotaIt also marked the beginning of a major shift in the appearance of the cemeteries. Because soldiers weren’t scrambling to build makeshift burial grounds during the chaos of war, there was time to think and plan. One of the first changes was to replace wooden headboards with permanent marble headstones, creating lasting tributes to those who died for their country.

In addition, noted landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted was consulted. He suggested the cemeteries be “studiously simple … a sacred grove … (and) establish permanent dignity.” His recommendations to plant trees and flowerbeds and create walking paths helped grieving families take comfort in the tranquility and beauty of nature.

The challenges of operating a national cemetery system increased when the U.S. became involved in World War I and World War II. Provisions for bringing home soldiers killed on foreign soil, creating new guidelines for burial eligibility, and building new cemeteries were put in place. In the 1930s, responsibility for the cemeteries was transferred from the Army to the National Park Service because of their ability to interpret the historical significance of the battle.

buglerNow called The National Cemetery Administration, this vital organization is part of the Department of Veteran’s Affairs and is responsible for 130 national cemeteries, seven of which are in Florida, and 29 million gravesites. Arlington National Cemetery and Soldier’s Home are still operated by the Army, and the Department of the Interior manages an additional fourteen.

The goal of all our national cemeteries is to ensure that those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of their country are buried with respect and dignity, and to prevent other families the unnecessary suffering that was experienced by the Mason Bryant family.

For more information about the National Cemetery Administration, visit their website at

Respectfully Retire Your American Flag
Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

flagSummer is flag-flying season and there are several things to remember as you proudly fly your flag:

  • The American flag should always fly at the top of a stand-alone pole
  • Prevent the flag from touching the ground when you raise or lower it
  • If your flag is flown at night, it should always be lighted
  • When not on display, it should be carefully folded and stored
  • It is all right to clean or mend a flag. Many dry cleaners will clean it for free
  • When an American flag is too worn or soiled it cannot be displayed, it should be respectfully destroyed

retirebox“We are proud to fly several flags at our St. Petersburg locations, and have always respectfully destroyed them when they became too worn or soiled,” said John McQueen, chief operating officer of Anderson-McQueen. “It is our pleasure to now offer this service to our neighbors.”

You may drop off your worn American flag at one of our locations, where it will be properly and respectfully destroyed.

Retail locations interested in having a collection box at their location may contact us at 727-822-2059 or by e-mail at

Honor Our Military Event
Friday, May 1st, 2009

ceremony1Anderson McQueen hosted a barbeque to honor the memory of our veterans, celebrate the service of our retired military, and to thank those in active duty. The event featured activities for children, and guests had the opportunity to post a card on our Wall of Honor featuring the seal of the branch of service in which their loved ones served.

See photos from the event.

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