Memorial Day ceremonies held despite impacts of COVID-19
Millions of people across the U.S. are observing Memorial Day this Monday.
It's a day to honor those who died while serving our country.
But, many of those traditional ceremonies around the country are taking place differently this year to protect against coronavirus.
A ceremony was held Monday at the Brookings County Veterans Memorial to honor those who have fallen.
Like many things during this pandemic, the ceremony looked a little different than normal.
“We ordinarily have our ceremony at the Swifter Center, it’s not available, plus we didn’t really feel it was a good idea to gather in large groups,” said Bob Hurd, a Vietnam war veteran and Past Commander of Hoffman Towns and post 74 of the American Legion.
Instead, members of American Legion Post 74, VFW Post 2118 and DAV Brookings Chapter 22 conducted a shorter ceremony at the Brookings County Veterans Memorial.
“We haven’t been able to get together and comradeship is a vital part of veterans service organizations. This is one opportunity where we can get together and do something meaningful in remembrance of our brothers and sisters who did not come home with us,” said Hurd.
The ceremony included a 21-gun salute by the honor guard and rifle squad, along with members of the auxiliary placing wreaths and completed with Taps played.
For those that came out, many wore masks, stood far apart from each other, and some even observed from their car.
Being a Vietnam war vet, Hurd said he takes honor in representing those who aren’t here today.
Hurd said, “I was on the ground in the infantry and I saw a lot of my brothers and sisters who did not make it back and every time I do something pertaining to the service organization, it honors them because I am there in their place. That is an honor in and of itself.”
But, today is also a reminder of the veterans who recently lost while fighting the very prevalent battle against COVID-19.
“There's several of our brothers and sisters who have passed during this epidemic that we’re not able to go do the ordinary military honors for. This is one way of honoring them at this time as we ordinarily do on an ongoing basis for our brothers and sister who pass,” said Hurd.