SOUTHERN INDIANA — The times are unprecedented, but the desire to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice remains.
Memorial Day celebrations in Southern Indiana will be different Monday, as some events have been cancelled and others changed from their normal formats to adhere to social distancing guidelines.
Sellersburg American Legion Post 204 will have its annual program at noon at Wilkerson Park. Post Commander Ron Arrington said there may not be a big crowd due to the circumstances, but he added that it’s still important to pause and reflect on those who lost their lives serving their country.
“It’s a day to remember all of the fallen men and veterans who were in service who have passed during the last year,” Arrington said.
After the program, which will feature a guest speaker, the post’s auxiliary will provide box lunches. Arrington said people can take a lunch to go or enjoy their meal at the post. Those who will attend the program are encouraged to wear a mask.
Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1693 will conduct a service at 11 a.m. Monday at New Albany’s Veterans Plaza on East Market Street. The Honor Guard will play Taps and perform a Laying of the Wreath ceremony, but unlike most years, there will be no guest speakers.
“Memorial Day is special and we have to do something, and we also need to thank veterans every day of the week not just Memorial Day and Veterans Day,” said Jim Dexter, commander of VFW Post 1693.
“We want to tell everybody that just because we’re not having a full-blown Memorial Day service, the public is welcome to come down to Veterans Plaza any day of the week and lay a wreath in memory of a loved one who passed away.”
American Legion Post 28 in New Albany will have an observance at National Cemetery along Ekin Avenue at 12:30 p.m., but due to COVID-19 restrictions, the event will not be open to the public.
The National Cemetery has restrictions limiting parties to no more than 10 people.
State Rep. Ed Clere has been a regular guest speaker at the Memorial Day events in New Albany for many years. He was scheduled to speak Monday at Veterans Plaza and will attend the program though the format has changed.
“I’ll be there and wearing a mask and keeping appropriate social distance, and at the same time, keeping close the memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice,” Clere said Thursday.
Clere emphasized he supports the changes being made by the veterans’ groups.
“The folks who usually turn out for the Memorial Day services tend to include a lot of people who would be considered high-risk in terms of age and health issues,” he said. “I appreciate what they’re doing to try to keep people safe.”
Clere typically dedicates part of his message during Memorial Day programs to the need to honor the sacrifices of veterans throughout the year, not just on a specific holiday.
“For any family that has lost a loved one in the service of our country, every day is Memorial Day,” he said. “That loss, that sacrifice is with them every single day and all of us should pause frequently to consider and appreciate the sacrifices that have been made.”
Memorial Day celebrations planned for Monday in Clark and Floyd counties: New Albany
• Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1693 of New Albany, will sponsor a memorial service, 11 a.m. Monday, at New Albany Plaza, Market Street. The Honor Guard will perform the Laying of Wreath ceremony and Taps will be played. No guest speakers. Those attending are asked to follow social distancing regulations.
• American Legion Post 28, New Albany, will present a Memorial Day observance at about 12:30 p.m. Monday at National Cemetery, 1943 Ekin Ave., New Albany. The colors will be presented by the Honor Guard Unit of V.F.W. Post 1693. Following the COVID-19 guidelines, the observance is not open to the public.
• Sellersburg American Legion Post 204 will sponsor a Memorial Day program, 12 noon at Wilkerson Park, N. New Albany St., Sellersburg. Masks are encouraged. After the program the Auxiliary will provide grab-n-go boxed lunches.
Due to COVID-19, the Clarksville Town Council decided to create a virtual ceremony by video. The program will be a 30-minute video, complete with guest artists, and will be released on the Town of Clarksville social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter). www.townofclarksville.com
The editing firm in Chicago is doing its best to get the final video finished in time for Monday.
The theme for Town of Clarksville 2020 Memorial Day Commemoration (Virtual Ceremony by Video) is “75th Anniversary of Victory in Europe (WWII)” Musical guests, Broadway star, Farah Alvin and Kentucky’s “Junction Creek Band.”