SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Memorial Day this year will look different due to COVID-19 guidelines.
The hundreds of Veterans who attend the ceremony hosted at the Springfield National Cemetery won’t be able to attend this year, however, there are other options to honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
Brent Barnes, the manager of Greenlawn Funeral Homes, says there is no concern about breaking CDC social distancing rules on Memorial Day because of the large open spaces at the cemetery.
“Gotta stay six feet away, limit so many people in a certain area,” said Barnes. “People are really good at working with us as far as that goes, and like I said this is a wide-open area, I don’t think we’re going to have a problem with that.”
At the Missouri Veterans Cemetery, the annual ceremony had to be canceled due to big crowds.
“There’s a substantial amount of folks who come out here,” said Robert Bunting, a Veteran. “This is where people come to remember. That’s why the turnout will be and always is, full and big.”
Although the ceremony is canceled, the public can still go to the cemetery to lay flowers or plant flags.
Micheal Bean, a Veteran, explained why this holiday is so important.
“Remembering the sacrifices of the individuals and most of us, not all but most of us, it was a personal choice to join,” said Bean. “Especially for the younger kids, a lot will get out of touch, with what an actual sacrifice actually is. Wifi down, that’s not a sacrifice. That’s an inconvenience.”
Both Bean and Bunting say they think it’s a good idea to postpone it this year.
“We would be remissed if we tried to put on a big show out here,” said Bunting. “We protected everybody. So we’re not going to change that thought process.”
“We know that this COVID-19 can kill people, it’s everybody’s responsibility I think,” said Bean. “The federal government is marked for memorial day, it doesn’t mean that it’s the only day that we can come out and celebrate.”
The VA is also offering a new way to pay tribute to Veterans.
If your loved one was buried in a national cemetery, you can now leave a comment on the online Veterans Legacy memorial webpage by clicking here.