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Memorial Day ceremony goes virtual

The sentiment will be the same, but this year’s Memorial Day observances will look a little different.

Because of restrictions on the size of gatherings due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the traditional ceremonies and placing flags on each veteran’s grave have been canceled.

“Making this change was not a decision that we, or the lead veterans’ service organizations made lightly, and no one is more disappointed than the organizers of these events … In the end, the safety of our veterans and their families made a modification necessary,” said Kat Miller, director of the Nevada Department of Veterans Services.

Traditionally, Memorial Day ceremonies in Boulder City attract thousands of people.

The department said the virus has not changed the “resolve to come together to honor and remember the men and women who lost their lives serving our country.”

Instead, a virtual Memorial Day event will be held.

With the help of veterans’ organizations and veterans across the state, the department developed two videos to help memorialize the fallen. One was videotaped in Southern Nevada at the Nevada Veterans Memorial in Las Vegas and features recognizable Southern Nevada veterans and key personalities. The other features the Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Fernley, along with key figures from the area.

Both honor veterans of all eras and will be available to view starting Saturday, May 23, at https://www.veterans.nv.gov.

For those who wish to pay their respects in person, the Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Boulder City will be open for visitation, but social distancing recommendations will be “rigorously” enforced and visitors will be asked to wear face coverings.

Individuals are welcome to place flags or flowers at grave sites.

Members of American Legion, Post 31, also will not be placing flags on veterans’ graves at the municipal cemetery or holding a service. To honor those who served, it will put up a sign listing all the veterans buried there along with their grave locations. The sign will be posted by the parking lot Saturday, May 23, through Monday, May 25, afternoon.

Additionally, the post and its auxiliary will not be selling poppies this year.

The 26th annual Fly Your Flag Over Hoover Dam run presented by the Vietnam Vets Legacy Vets Motorcycle Club, held the Sunday before Memorial Day, will return to its roots and original intention: to honor its brothers who paid the ultimate sacrifice, said Arrow, president of the group.

“It will be just like when the run first started over 25 years ago,” he said.

Because the dam is closed and the event had attracted hundreds of motorcycle enthusiasts, there will be no official run. Additionally, the service conducted at the end of the run in the veterans’ cemetery by members of the Special Forces Association will not be held, he said.

“We will try to do as best as we can,” Arrow said, adding they are taking recommended precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 seriously.

Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at hsaylor@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.

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