Honoring fallen veterans amidst pandemic


 FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Public memorial day ceremonies won’t be taking place this year but that doesn’t mean you can’t honor our nations’ military heroes.

For years, hundreds of people have come together to remember the men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving our country—by laying flags on their graves. This year, because of the pandemic public ceremonies and activities have been canceled.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced that they will not be holding a formal laying of the flags event to avoid large crowds and it’s all in effort to keep the community safe during the pandemic

Instead, the VA is asking families to visit its veterans’ legacy memorial online. It launched a new feature that allows people to leave tributes on a veteran’s page.

President of Bo’s Blessings Jannie Layne’s son is buried at this cemetery. She has participated in many of the memorial day events here and said she feels for the families who may be frustrated by the changes.

“I’m sad for them because it changes the way they are going to be able to pay that honor and respect but it doesn’t prevent them from doing that. we are a very creative society and we can find ways to remember without coming together as a large group,” said Layne.

There are many ways to pay your respects and stay safe during the coronavirus pandemic. Layne said if you want to honor a fallen soldier say his or her name because  “a name spoken is never forgotten”.

You can take a hike in their name, bring their photo or a flag along with you. Some people wear the color red, as a symbol of remembrance.

Although we can’t get together in large groups, the cemetery is still open to the public. You can always come and visit a grave, say their names out loud, decorate it with flowers, just keep social distancing in mind.

Earlene and John parks visited their loved ones. “Put one rose or put a flag, and think about the sacrifices that these people made. The one way we can honor them is to not forget what they did,” said Earlene.

The Parks said today is an opportunity to share the stories of our fallen military men and women and to teach younger generations of the legacies they leave behind.

These men and women died serving our country so why not take this time to serve others, maybe do an act of kindness or pick up some volunteer work in their honor.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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