Some Memorial Day services and activities are canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, but there are still ways to honor and remember fallen American heroes.
American Legion National Commander James W. “Bill” Oxford urges the public to honor the country’s fallen military heroes at dusk on Memorial Day by lighting candles of remembrance and placing them on front porches, according to the American Legion website.
“As we continue to follow stay-at-home guidance during the coronavirus pandemic, we must not fail to remember the men and women who fought for our freedoms,” Oxford said. “Memorial Day observances around the country and beyond are certain to be much different this year, but we can show our respects by lighting and displaying candles to remind everyone why we must never forget the meaning of this sacred holiday.”
Lighting a red candle represents those who shed their blood in combat and made the ultimate sacrifice; a white candle serves as a reminder of all of the POWs and MIAs; and a blue candle symbolizes people’s eternal love of those who made it back home but have since died.
Oxford also suggested that families make signs expressing their gratitude for military sacrifice, photograph friends and family holding up the signs, and share the images on social media.
Ted Weatherly, adjutant for Pullman American Legion Maynard-Price Post 52, said residents can raise a flag in their yard Monday to honor veterans. They can also tell veterans, especially older ones who are isolated at home because of the coronavirus, that they are appreciated.
“They just need somebody to say ‘hi’ and ‘thank you,’ ” Weatherly said.
Weatherly said Pullman American Legion members are not posting flags Monday because of the coronavirus. He said members normally put flags downtown and at Pullman’s three cemeteries — Odd Fellows Cemetery, Pullman City Cemetery and Farr Cemetery.
Weatherly said many members are 60 or older and therefore at higher risk for serious coronavirus complications.
Plus, he said placing flags requires a great deal of manpower and gathering in large groups is prohibited.
“We didn’t want to put anyone at jeopardy,” Weatherly said.
Brenda Hokenson, a representative of Moscow American Legion Dudley Loomis Post 6, said members and volunteers typically post American flags on Memorial Day along Moscow streets, but they will not this year because of the pandemic.
David Jewett, quartermaster for Moscow Veterans of Foreign Wars Hawley Jameson Post 2905, said members will post flags at the main entrance of the Moscow Cemetery and at veterans’ graves at the cemetery.
G. Raymond McCown American Legion Post 24 of Garfield will hold its annual wreath-laying ceremony at 11 a.m. Monday at the Garfield Cemetery, according to the post’s Facebook page. Following the ceremony, the public is invited to a by-donation potato bar at the Legion Hall, 211 E. Main St.
The Facebook post asks that all guests respect social distancing throughout the service and luncheon. Tables will have limited seating and will be spread apart to accommodate social distancing.
American Legion Post 58 of Genesee asks people to join in a moment of silent prayer for eternal peace at 3 p.m. Monday from wherever residents happen to be located at that time.
Garrett Cabeza can be reached at (208) 883-4631, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.