Local cemeteries are honoring veterans despite the pandemic

Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The Springfield National Cemetery and other places honored veterans this Memorial Day with different types of ceremonies.

Things look a little different, with public ceremonies canceled because of the coronavirus.

Two veterans worked on May 25 at Green Lawn, handing out flags to families of veterans.

“So if anyone has a veteran that’s here in the cemetery, they can stop and we’ll give them a flag to put in the gravesite,” said Roi Williamson, a U.S. Navy veteran.

“Pride,” said Bill Wisner, a U.S. Army veteran. “You know, they say, my dad, my son, whoever, they served, put in their time, risk their lives, so we could have what we have in this country. Makes your family feel a lot better.”

They say it gives families and friends a sense of pride, being able to say their father, son or anybody, served our country.

Diana Fortner took her grandchildren out to visit her husband today.

“It’s been five years,” said Fortner. “We had a great marriage, a great life, I gotten 11 bonus years after he got cancer. And so I’m just thankful for what I had.”

And over at the Springfield National Cemetery, there was a wreath-laying ceremony this morning to honor our fallen heroes.

“On Memorial Day we pause to remember, honor, and express our gratitude to all those Americans who lost their lives in uniform,” said John Daniels, the national cemetery administrative officer.

They were unable to provide a traditional ceremony due to COVID-19.

“It is true memorial day is somewhat different as we fight the coronavirus pandemic,” said Daniels. “We do not gather as we normally would to honor our nation’s heroes, but we can still continue to honor them by spending a quiet moment paying homage to their courage and sacrifice.”

There are over 5 million Americans, including veterans, buried in VA cemeteries.

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