Memorial Day: Honoring the fallen during a pandemic


AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) — On Memorial Day, we reflect to honor all of the military members who sacrificed their lives to protect our country. Every year, there is a ceremony at The All Wars Monument. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this memorial day will look a little different.

“The spirit of Memorial Day in Augusta has not changed,” said Dr. James Brady. “There are hundreds, if not thousands of people right now in heart, mind, and spirit recognizing our fallen.”

Despite the fact social distancing keeps us apart, fallen soldiers are being recognized this Memorial Day. The Augusta Women’s Club is still carrying on with its annual tradition.

“For years, we have always brought our wreath,” explained Rita Hamilton. “It is called the wreath-laying ceremony. We have brought it down here with The Military Order of World Wars.”

It’s common for military members and loved ones to come to the memorial site and pay their respects. One Army veteran told NewsChannel 6’s Devin Johnson, not only are her comrades on her mind but also the thousands who lost their lives to COVID-19.

“Now this pandemic brings home, as our president has said, we are in a new kind of war,” said Lorraine Barlett. “The pandemic has had many innocent victims. I hope and pray that our whole country comes together to fight this new enemy.”

Bill Caput was a doctor in the Vietnam War. He says today is an emotional day for him, and people should pause and reflect on those heroes.

“They need to know the sacrifices these men and women made to maintain our society,” said Caput.

Dr. Brady believes Americans will come out of this pandemic together stronger as we did after 9/11.

“I’m hoping that if anything comes of the out pandemic on a positive note, we reinvigorate that unity,” said Dr. Brady.

Even though the pandemic has changed memorial day this year, folks say Memorial Day is every day.

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