Boy Scouts from Troop 604 in Lawrenceburg place flags on graves of veterans in Greendale Cemetery Wednesday, May 20, preparing for Memorial Day services at 11 a.m. Monday. There are about 1,700 veterans buried in the cemetery, according to Toni Scudder, who organizes the flag plantings. From left: Andrew Berglund, Tyler Goodwin, Liam Ahaus and Remy Rush. Marc Emral/The Register
Memorial Day Services take on different look
It won’t be the same, but it is still a meaningful memorial for those who lost their lives serving our country.
The Greendale Cemetery’s annual Memorial Day service at 11 a.m. Monday, May 25, will be void of spectators and a featured speaker, and the parade, all because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re not doing it for a lack of desire or interest we’re just doing it because of all the guidelines about mass gatherings,” said Scott McAdams, commander of the American Legion Post No. 239 in Lawrenceburg and one of the organizers of the service.
We’re advising people if they do come to please social distant, stay in their car.”
The service will be live streamed over WSCH-FM, Eagle 99.3 radio.
He said this is the first year in about 20 years there will be no parade.
“We’re not supposed to have that many people, but we’re still going have a ceremony no matter what,” McAdams said.
“We’re trying not to invite as many from the public out there. And, you know, that’ll continue, as long as one of us is still alive, I would imagine, somebody’s going go out there and do it. We had no intentions to not have that ceremony.”
McAdams, a Greendale resident who is a 1992 graduate of Lawrenceburg High School, was a sergeant in the U.S. Army Rangers.
“One, it’s remembering the losses, the effort of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, in my opinion that made the ultimate sacrifice so we can still have what we consider America a free country,” he said.
“It’s just a way to honor those people who are picked out of, usually at the prime of their life, 18- to 24-year-old women and men who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country.”
He said they went, either drafted or voluntarily, and died so “we don’t have to have an overly repressive government and everything else.
“The ceremony to me is about honoring those people and letting that many soldiers and sailors, there’s been over a million in the course of our country, that have died in the line of duty that we don’t ever forget that and so hopefully we can stop and quell the stuff before it becomes a World War II level situation again.”
Boy Scouts, the Legion Post No. 239 Color Guard and a group of volunteers will again place a flag at the gravestone of every veteran buried in Greendale Cemetery starting on Wednesday.
The national commander of the American Legion, James W. “Bill” Oxford, is encouraging everyone to light a candle on their front porches “to pay tribute to our nation’s fallen heroes at dusk May 25, Memorial Day.
He suggested color options as “a red candle to remember the blood shed in battle for the protection of our freedoms.
A white candle to keep our POWs/MIAs ever in our thoughts and prayers as we await their return home. A blue candle to salute the memories of those who made it home but are no longer with us.”
He also asked to post photos on the Legion’s and other social media with the hashtag #candlesofhonor.
Meanwhile, the COVID pandemic has caused the cancellation of Memorial Day services in Dillsboro.
The Veterans’ Memorial Day services at Oakdale and St. John Lutheran cemeteries will not be held this year due to social distancing precautions during the pandemic.
Northcutt-Laaker Post No. 292 members will place flags graveside at both cemeteries to honor veterans’ service and sacrifice.
The Dillsboro Veterans’ Walk to honor community veterans will be displayed in the open-air gathering place at North and Front streets.
Signs will be displayed Friday, May 22, through Monday, May 25.
In Bright, the Memorial Day service will be at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, May 24, at the Gibson Cemetery, 24001 State Line Road.
It will be about 40 minutes, said Bob Waples, who is an organizer of the service. It will be outside, and all social distancing guidelines will be observed.
The Boy Scouts will be there, and Celeste Calvitto will be the guest speaker. American Legion posts from Harrison and the Bright area will be involved.
“It’s a simple ceremony to honor those who have died,” Waples said
“We will raise and lower the flag to half-staff. It’s nothing major, we don’t compete with the big ones in the city, but it is our way of recognizing our veterans.”
At Riverview Cemetery in Aurora, the service will be exactly the same, but without music and lunch afterwards.
Fred Lester, one of the organizers of the service, said there will be no music becuase schools have not been able to practice as a band. There will be no lunch becuase the veteran organizations that usually supply the lunch can't because of COVID-19.
The ceremony starts at 11 a.m. Monday, May 25. Aurora Mayor Mark Drury will be the speaker this year.
The services are sponsored by the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 71.
"We ask that if you come you wear masks and use commons sense," Lester said.