MIAMI COUNTY — Unprecedented times calls for an uncharacteristic Memorial Day in Miami County: one without parades, large gatherings, or keynote speakers honoring military personnel who have died while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Even without the public events, veterans and other officials are encouraging families to take time to recognize Memorial Day on their own and with their families, such as talking to children about the importance of the holiday or hanging up an American flag.
Miami County Veterans Services Director Selena Loy suggested people could talk to their children about Memorial Day, helping to instill a sense of patriotism.
“We need to speak to them about what Memorial Day is,” Loy said.
Loy also suggested people could look up a video of Taps on YouTube and listen to that while doing a “drive by salute” at a local cemetery or at a veterans memorial.
“Memorial Day is not stopping because of COVID-19,” Loy said. “What it’s about is not stopping.”
Loy also suggested people could give back in honor of Memorial Day, finding a way to help others or volunteer in the spirit of “service before self.”
Lee Adams of the Piqua Veterans Association suggested people could display an American flag at their homes.
“It is also a great time to spruce up the American flag at home, ensuring that the flags are displayed proudly and prominently, especially on Memorial Day,” Adams said.
The Piqua Veterans Association is also reminding everyone that if the flag is flown from a flagpole on Memorial Day, it should be at half staff from sunrise to noon. After noon, it is flown from the top for the remainder of the day.
“I would add that everyone may consider holding a moment of silence in their household,” Adams said. “While many choose to give thanks by the tradition of their religion, remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our liberty does not have to involve religion nor politics.”
Adams also suggested learning more about fallen service members and their sacrifices.
“Take time this weekend with others in the household learning about our heroes,” Adams said. “If you have not seen the movie ‘Last Full Measure,’ about the struggle to award William Pitsenbarger with the Medal of Honor, it is excellent.” The movie is rated R for violence and language, so Adams said parents should use discretion with their children. The movie is available online through streaming services.
Adams added that reading about or discussing fallen service members is also a good way to honor them, suggesting people visit a local veterans memorial or other memorials in their area for people who have died while serving in the Armed Forces.
“With luck, we will have a great parade and memorial service in 2021,” Adams said.
Tipp City Council members this week also encouraged people to remember Memorial Day, even though no public events will be held.
“Memorial Day is intended to remember those who died while serving,” council member Mike Jackson said. “Memorial Day is a very solemn day.” He encouraged everyone to recognize and remember “all those who gave us our freedom.”
“It is a day of sorrow … It’s also a day for us to step back and remember those who gave their lives serving us,” Tipp City Council President Katelyn Berbach said. “It’s a tradition. It’s a long-standing tradition, and it’s going to be missed this year.”
Parades in Piqua, Troy, West Milton, Covington, and Pleasant Hill have been canceled this year, with some communities holding small or private events.
In Piqua, an informal ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. Monday inside Forest Hill Cemetery. A list of World War II servicemen killed in action will be read to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of the war. This will be followed by the firing of the three volleys and Taps performed by the Veterans Elite Tribute Squad. The Piqua Veterans’ Association requests anyone visiting the cemetery during the ceremony time to remain at their vehicle.
In Troy, the public Memorial Day ceremony at Riverside Cemetery for 2020 has been canceled. A private ceremony will be held by the Veterans Memorial Honor Guard of Troy. The private ceremony will consist of a 21-gun salute, playing of Taps and placing a wreath at the Veterans’ Memorial flagpole and Old Soldiers Circle. It will be performed promptly at noon Monday.
In Pleasant Hill, the Memorial Day Parade for this year has also been canceled. There will be a brief ceremony at the monument at 11 a.m.
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