The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic won’t prevent Delaware from remembering fallen heroes May 25.
The city of Delaware will post a virtual Memorial Day observance on its social-media sites and YouTube channel at 3 p.m. May 25 to honor military personnel who died in the line of duty, said Lee Yoakum, the city’s community-affairs coordinator.
The video will include a Memorial Day observance by Chapter 1095 of Vietnam Veterans of America, recorded May 12 at Oak Grove Cemetery, 334 S. Sandusky St.
Harold Wolford of Chapter 1095 said the group has been providing honor guards – with a rifle volley and the playing of taps – at veterans’ burials during the pandemic.
“We are at least 6 feet apart and 60 to 70 feet away from the people at the burials,” he said. “Social distancing has been working quite well at the burials.”
Chapter 1095 has been fielding calls about its Memorial Day plans, he said.
“We do events the community actually likes and looks forward to,” Wolford said. “They think we are doing something right. To us, that is a huge compliment, that people look forward to our events.”
The Memorial Day video will include a rifle volley and remarks by Wolford and Bruce Yerian, the Chapter 1095 chaplain, Wolford said.
He said the nationwide Memorial Day tradition dates to 1868, when the Grand Army of the Republic – an organization of Civil War Union veterans – held its first Decoration Day to adorn the graves of Civil War dead with flowers.
May 30 was chosen apparently because flowers would be in bloom across the country, Wolford said.
Earlier, in April 1866, a group of women placed flowers on both Union and Confederate graves at the site of the Battle of Shiloh in Tennessee, he said.
By 1900, Memorial Day ceremonies were being held May 30 across the nation. Congress declared it an official holiday in 1971, to be held the last Monday in May, Wolford said.
Delaware County has paid a price in the nation’s wars, he said.
Until current renovations began at the Historic Delaware County Courthouse, monuments stood in front of the building listing the county residents killed in the Civil War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“I would encourage you to visit and read the names on them, once they are placed back on the renovated lawn,” Wolford said.
About 10,800 veterans are buried in Delaware County, including veterans of the Revolutionary War, Wolford said.
About 3,000 veterans are buried at Oak Grove and St. Mary Cemetery, 426 S. Sandusky St., he said.
Chapter 1095 places new U.S. flags – provided by the Delaware County Veterans Services office – on veterans’ graves each month, and the graves will have fresh flags on Memorial Day, Wolford said.
A city press release offered several ways community members can observe Memorial Day while also honoring pandemic restrictions.
• Calling a veteran.
• Visiting a cemetery and decorating veterans’ gravesites with flags and flowers.
• Flying an American flag.
• Sharing a photo of a beloved fallen veteran on social media.
• Honoring the National Moment of Remembrance by pausing for a moment of silence at 3 p.m. May 25.
The city’s Facebook page is “City of Delaware, Ohio – Government.”
Its YouTube channel is “City of Delaware.”