A Memorial Day Like No Other in the Era of COVID-19

memorial dayThis Memorial Day, during the time of COVID-19, will be different from all others.

Many cemeteries likely will have new restrictions, making it more difficult for visitors to pay their respects.

Arlington National Cemetery, the final resting place for more than 400,000 active-duty service members, veterans, and their families, is closed to the public, although family members of the fallen can still visit.

Many Americans, even if they wanted to, might not be able to visit a memorial or a cemetery due to stay-at-home restrictions. Flags normally placed with care at military graves might not be there this year.

Big Memorial Day parades with marching bands—like the one that Chicago traditionally has—have been canceled.

And amid the grief caused by the deaths of more than 93,000 Americans from the deadly virus, the economic devastation accompanied by the loss of millions of jobs, and for some, the despair of home isolation, some might feel less inclined than normal to pause and remember those who sacrificed their lives in the defense of the country.

That would be unfortunate.

As we have been reminded of late of the bravery and selflessness of the medical professionals serving on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis, it’s similarly appropriate once a year to stop and remember those who gave everything they had in the defense of the country.

That’s because Memorial Day is a day where we both celebrate their service and grieve for their loss.

Many were taken just on the cusp of adulthood, sometimes as young as 15, such as Pfc. Dan Bullock, who altered the date on his birth certificate to join the Marine Corps as a rifleman. He was killed in Vietnam in 1969 when a satchel charge was thrown into his bunker.

But sacrifice isn’t limited to the young. Army Maj. Gen. Harold “Harry” Greene was 55 years old when he was killed in Afghanistan in 2014. Greene always had a smile and a quip, followed by a hearty guffaw, to lighten the tense moods. Greene now lies in Section 60 in Arlington National Cemetery, surrounded by other such heroes.

They came from all walks of life—rich and poor, men and women, diverse religions and backgrounds—all united in a common goal; namely, to answer the call of the country. Certainly, none wished to die, but they believed in something greater than themselves, and uncommonly acted upon that belief.

Many military units make a special effort to remember the service members who died in their ranks. The 3rd Infantry Division (nicknamed “the Rock of the Marne”) at Fort Stewart, Georgia, for example, plants a crape myrtle in honor of every soldier who died while serving in the division since April 2003.

In a somber reminder of the price paid by that single division, 469 such trees have been planted.

President Ronald Reagan captured the motivation of these patriots when he said, “We’re blessed with the opportunity to stand for something—for liberty and freedom and fairness. And these are things worth fighting for, worth devoting our lives to.”

Even though the cemeteries might be closed and the parades canceled, ways remain to remember those brave men and women. Perhaps with a thought, a prayer, a toast, and if you have children, perhaps a conversation with them about what Memorial Day really means to us as Americans.

Reprinted with permission from - The Daily Signal - by Thomas Spoehr

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David K
2 months ago

Thank you Veterans, both present and past, both standing and fallen.

David K
2 months ago

Thank you Veterans, both present and past, both standing and fallen.

R Julia Anderson
2 months ago

I am so filled with gratitude and pride as I reflect on the patriotism of my mother’s right brothers who all courageously served our country. By the grace of God, all returned home safely. Only baby brother, Joe, suffered from what we would call PTSD. Joe’s ship was anchored at Pearl Harbor and he left her to stretch his legs with a walk on the beach. As he was headed back, he watched in horror as his ship, and his buddies, were bombed and engulfed in flames. He remained a thoughtful and gentle man, but the spontaneous laughter was extinguished.… Read more »

Rodney Ernst
2 months ago

Its a sad day in America that we cannot celebrate an age old honor for all our fallen vets and for all veterans, including myself, that have served our country. They have fought for what our nation stands for. Now we have to surrender to the left wing Democrats and there scare tactics that have really crippled our nation. This is a wake up call when it comes election time. We better have a red wave. Ir we are in trouble.

Shirley Everett
2 months ago

Beautiful story, thank you. God bless all those who gave the ultimate and God bless all who have served and serve today.

2 months ago

Thank you Veterans and RIP!

Ed J
2 months ago

So many Americans fail to realize that “Freedom is not Free.” It is bought and paid for with blood in every generation. May all those who have given the last full measure of their devotion to ensure our nation’s freedom NEVER be forgotten, for they are the true heroes of the American people.

E. Fletcher
2 months ago

These are the hero’s who helped make our country what it is, those who maintained our state of freedom and liberty. God bless each and everyone living and dead.
Why is the Democratic Party so eager to discredit those veterans and destroy what took so many hero’s to build?

Kathie Ormsbee
2 months ago

Kathie I had 4 uncles who served in WWII, all but one, my Uncle Marion Spychalski, Bay City, MI.
He as only 19 and killed just 3 months prior to the end of the war. The flag that was given to my Grandparents was dedicated to him and all other Veterans at the Flywheelers Tractor Show, Boyne Falls, MI in 2018.
They said that it will will be flown every time they have a show
God bless all who are serving our country now and know that we are praying for their safety!

Connie Rowley
2 months ago

Thank you for your Memorial Day tribute!!

Betty Slough
2 months ago

Thank you for your fair good reporting.

Patriot Will
2 months ago

Also, let us pray that the hearts of those Americans who take everything for granted become more thankful to those who have sacrificed everything to keep the USA a free and special country. If more Americans appreciated “the home of the brave”, the likes of Pelosi and Schumer would be thrown out of office.

Fred J Noel
2 months ago

While I was serving in the Navy, 1968 to 1972. I lost two very close friends in Vietnam. Like a line in John Prine song Hello In There, ” We lost Davy in the Korean war, still don’t know what for” . I feel the same way, at the time it appeared the U.S. wasn’t really trying to win that war and had on strategy to end it honorably. However that doesn’t diminish their sacrifice. R.I.P old friends.

Ralph S
2 months ago

THANK YOU to all those who served on two legs or four and GOD bless and take care of all those now serving to protect our freedom and liberty.

2 months ago

If you’re glad to be a free American, thank a veteran.

Glenn Lego
2 months ago

I’m a veteran of the Vietnam farce. I didn’t wish to serve but I got an invite from Uncle Sam that I could’ve refused had I been a “Fortunate Son” as CCR sang about in their anti-war song. When someone thanks me for my service, it sounds a bit hollow since I didn’t give it voluntarily. But I hope you all have a pleasant Memorial Day anyhow.

Brenda Blunt
2 months ago

USA is the country it is because of the men and women who have served and currently serving!! Thank you and may God bless each of you.

2 months ago

Well said!

2 months ago

With grateful heart, I thank all the patriots who gave the last full measure of devotion in service to their nation. Stand down, soldier, and rest easy. We have the watch.

2 months ago

Amen honors to all the fallen soldiers. the cemetery usually has flags put on all the former soldiers graves. This year it is closed. Mom died from the virus and we were allowed in to bury her but we knew we were on a time limit to be in there. All the new grave sites we passed getting to Mom’s final resting place was so eerie. Dad won’t have a flag at his this year as no one else is allowed in there.

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