Although condensed, Memorial Day programs to go on as planned

By: 
Staff report

Memorial Day services in Brandon and Valley Springs will take place outdoors this year. File photo

As the country begins easing back into everyday life that’s not dictated by social distancing, the annual May tradition of honoring its veterans carries on.

Both Brandon and Valley Springs will hold abbreviated Memorial Day celebrations this Monday, May 25.

The Brandon VFW will meet Sunday to erect flags at Brandon Lutheran Cemetery. 

The ceremony itself will commence at 9 a.m. Monday at the Veterans Memorial on East Aspen Boulevard and will consist of “Taps” and the 21-gun salute, followed by a similar ceremony at the cemetery.

“Memorial Day is an occasion of special importance to all Americans, because it is a day sacred to the memory of all those Americans who made the supreme sacrifice for the liberties we enjoy,” said Brandon VFW member Tom Sharpee, quoting Ronald Reagan. 

Valley Springs will forgo its usual Memorial Day dinner and program in favor of a condensed ceremony at 11 a.m. at Pleasantview Cemetery.  

Auxiliary president Gloria Bonjour said the recent respect for “essential” workers during the coronavirus pandemic has only strengthened the need to honor the military. 

“Even when there is no pandemic, they are risking their lives,” Bonjour said. “Yes, it’s heartbreaking the number of people who have lost their lives to COVID-19. But what’s even more heartbreaking is the number of our military who have died, especially in military maneuvers we civilians knew nothing about.”

Our fallen GIs weren’t all volunteers, she pointed out. Bonjour’s dad was drafted into World War II, as was an uncle who died at the Battle of the Bulge. 

“Memorial Day is always important,” she said. “This pandemic doesn’t change that. We still need to pay proper respect to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for us, to remember those who have been on frontlines to nightmares we could never imagine.”

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