Honor ceremonies for some veterans are on hold because of the pandemic. COVID-19 restrictions mean veterans are being interred without the customary committal services.
The Department of Veterans Affairs put ceremonies on hold last month. The VA is keeping a running list and says it will work with families to reschedule services after the pandemic restrictions are lifted.
“But as we’ve seen across the state there are many cemeteries that have those on hold and military honors can be provided at another cemetery also so it is impacting the whole state,” says Dennis Wimer, Director of Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs.
Meanwhile, the veterans cemetery in Madison is working to make sure all veterans are honored on Memorial Day.
The pandemic is making it more difficult for some people to travel, so Wimer says in addition to handing out flags to cemetery visitors, his agency, along with cemetery staff, will ensure each grave has a flag on it by the end of the day.
Most cemeteries in Indiana have a portion of their property that is dedicated to veterans. Wimer encourages Hoosiers to stop by today and spend a few minutes.
“So as you do think about this Memorial Day, see if there is an opportunity for you to stop by one of those cemeteries," Wimer says. "Most of them are open for visiting, not necessarily for large gatherings, but stop by and spend a moment remembering those who have paid such a great price for our freedom.”
Honoring People Who Serve
Wimer says Memorial Day is also an opportunity to honor all of the heroes who are stepping up to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
“In previous years we think about our heroes and honoring them as our veterans and those who have stepped up and said, ‘I’m going to do something that others won’t for the benefit of our community, for the benefit of this nation.’ And this year we’ve seen so many others do that,” he says.
“We’ve seen our hospital workers, our care providers, people working in stores step up and say I’m ready to step up today," Wimer says. "I’m ready to go to work and do the things that other people need. And it’s those selfless acts. And in some cases this year it has ended in some of them passing away.”
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