Yellowstone National Cemetery will have a virtual ceremony this year in response to COVID-19 social distancing guidelines.
This year, the ceremony that usually takes place on Memorial Day to honor veterans will, instead, be a virtual ceremony. People are asked to limit group sizes to no more than 10. But one thing hasn't changed, respect and appreciation for the veterans and their families.
Despite the rain, flags were still placed at the cemetery in honor of our fallen heroes.
Richard Klose, Friends of the Yellowstone National Cemetery Vice Chairman, reflects on the progress made over the years in Laurel, at the Yellowstone National Cemetery.
Klose says, "All of us that have worked hard from the beginning with this cemetery are really proud of the cemetery and it's kind of our baby that we nurture along every year."
Cemetery Manager Stephen McCollum said, "What we're doing is limiting our recognition to a maximum of ten people. We are asking that no large groups do flag placements. But, we're are always welcoming and invite friends and relatives of veterans who are placed here to come out and place a flag. What's different, is we just can't do the crowds. We can't do the ceremony that we usually do."
He added, "We'll never forget recognizing our veterans and their sacrifice. We'll just have to do it in a little smaller version and a safer version."
McCollum said that although the ceremony won't look like it normally does, the respect and appreciation for veterans will be the same.
He said, "First of all, I'm a veteran myself. I'm a Vietnam Era veteran. I've seen those that came home from Vietnam, they were my friends. I have friends that didn't make it back from Vietnam. My family served. We're a small cemetery. Just seeing who's placed here. Many of them served and didn't make it back. I want to make the best commemorative for them that I possibly can through my work here. I just want to give them the best. They deserve it."
The virtual ceremony will be available here on Memorial Day.