Memorial Day ceremonies continuing with changes due to coronavirus

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — COVID-19 is changing people’s lives, but organizers of Memorial Day ceremonies said it shouldn’t change the respect given to fallen veterans on that day.

This Monday, the names of veterans buried at Blocker Cemetery in Olive Branch, Mississippi, will be read as part of the annual Memorial Day ceremony.

But the actual ceremony will look different.

“We just had to downsize,” ceremony coordinator David Szymanski said.

Instead of hundreds of people filling seats, the ceremony will be streamed on Facebook.

“It’s a bit disappointing because talking to a camera Monday is going to be so different than talking to an audience,” Szymanski said.

Though things will be scaled back, it won’t take away from the honor and respect shown for the country’s heroes.

At Memorial Park Funeral Home in Memphis, there will be an abbreviated ceremony the public can attend with certain restrictions.

“We at least wanted to remember and honor those veterans who gave their life and sacrificed for the country and for our freedom, so we’re going to have the ceremony part, and people will be able to gather around social distancing,” general manager Joe Lowery said.

They’re hoping that during this time of change, people’s priorities will do the same.

“Seeing how they cant travel, all those Memorial Days that they’re out swimming and stuff, maybe this year, go to a cemetery, visit your relatives who are laying there, put some flowers on the grave and say thank you to the veterans,” Lowery said.

At the Memphis National Cemetery, a wreath-laying ceremony will happen Monday.

While the public can’t attend due to CDC guidelines, organizers said the funeral home is open all weekend for people to privately pay their respects.

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