The Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs will hold a Memorial Day Ceremony at 10 a.m. Monday, May 27, at the Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery, 1501 West Maryland Ave., in North Little Rock.

A picnic, hosted by the Arkansas Veterans Coalition, will immediately follow the ceremony at Sherwood Forest; 1111 W Maryland Ave. Both events are free and open to the public.

"We are encouraging veterans, families, school children and civic groups to join us this year," said ADVA Public Affairs Officer Kelly Ferguson. "This will be a ceremony dedicated to those who have given their lives in service to our country."

Public parking will be staged at Sherwood Forest and will be convenient for those attending the picnic. Buses and vans will begin transporting individuals to the state cemetery at 8:30 a.m. Transportation for disabled attendees also will be available to and from Sherwood Forest.

"Last year, there were close to 600 people gathered at the cemetery, and we are hoping more will attend this year to honor our fallen," Ferguson said. "We will do all we can to accommodate organizations wanting to bring large groups, and we have made arrangements for those who need physical assistance."

The ceremony is expected to last 30 to 40 minutes. Speakers this year include Gov. Mike Beebe and emcee Sgt. Maj. Gregory Galloway, Arkansas National Guard Senior Enlisted Adviser for the Professional Education Center.

All branches of the U.S. Armed Forces will be represented, with special presentations by the 106th Army Band — Arkansas National Guard, India Co, 3/23 — USMC and recognized wartime veterans.

To RSVP or for more information on the ceremony, please call 370-3820 or by email at Sherwood Forest also will serve as the rainout location.