Fewer Memorial Day programs but still opportunities to remember
SALT LAKE CITY — Many cemeteries are not having their traditional Memorial Day programs this year because of coronavirus. But they still plan something to remember loved ones and military members who have passed.
Some say they will have a socially distant flag-raising on Monday morning. They are asking people to stay six feet apart and not crowd together as they attend or as they visit graves.
Julie Kinder with Dignity Memorial has been busy helping to place flags since May 20th around their three locations in the Salt Lake Valley. Those are Wasatch Lawn in Millcreek, Valley View in West Valley, and Wasatch Lawn in Riverton.
“We’ll place about 5,000 flags for the heroes who are buried here. Then we open our parks and people come. We expect about 1,000 people a day to drive through and come and see their families,” she said.
Kinder said it was disappointing not to have their traditional program, because she loved to learn from the speakers’ experiences and lessons of service. So this year they are having Aimee Winder Newton and Millcreek Mayor Jeff Silvestrini post their speeches online instead.
They are asking people to share pictures of their veterans to create a slideshow on Facebook as well.
Fort Douglas post military cemetery by the University of Utah will not have a Memorial Day program either this year, but the military museum curator and director Beau Burgess says the cemetery will be open for people to walk through and have a more personal time of remembrance.
Burgess says this could also be a good time to learn more about an ancestor who served in the military.
“If they are coming across these documents and letters or photos and journal entries, definitely contact the museum. We are always looking to preserve veterans’ stories as the state’s official military museum and repository,” he said.
And Burgess says if a family member is still alive, call them and talk to them this weekend.
“Honor their service and let them know you appreciate them. People don’t think about taking that opportunity now,” he said.
Kinder says bagpipers will still play at their Dignity Memorial Properties on Monday. And Memorial Day is such a touching time for her.
“There’s a spot in the park where you can look out, and see the entire 88 acres of Wasatch Lawn. And just seeing the flowers and everything people have brought — it’s so awesome” she said.
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