With the exception of a ceremony at 11 a.m. next Monday, May 25, 2020, at Almena’s Shadyside Park, Memorial Day ceremonies in the News-Shield circulation area have been either curtailed or cancelled altogether due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to spokespersons for various veterans’ organizations.
Almena area resident Vince Ashton, a member of VFW Post 8512, said the Shadyside Park observance will go on as planned, including patriotic music, the placement of flags in memory of deceased Almena veterans, a rifle squad salute, and a lunch after the ceremony at the local VFW post.
Pieper-Marsh American Legion Post 194 has cancelled the traditional celebration it holds at Sportsman’s Park, Cameron. However, Post member Cal Briggs said Legion members will meet at 8 a.m. Monday, May 25, 2020, to form an honor guard to visit five local cemeteries.
In order, they include:
Pine Grove Cemetery, 13 3/4 Avenue near 22nd Street, about one mile east of Cameron.
Faaberg Cemetery, northeast corner of 13th Avenue and 23rd Street, town of Sumner
Pioneer Rest Cemetery, 17 1/4 Avenue, about one-half mile east of County Hwy. M., town of Sumner
Old and New Sumner cemeteries, located on either side of County Hwy. M about 3 miles south of U.S. Hwy. 8
In Barron and Prairie Farm, Memorial Day ceremonies were cancelled.
“We talked about it among our members and decided that we should just not do it this year,” said Leonard “Bud” Lindemer, commander for Prairie Farm-based Holum-Waite American Legion Post.
Dave Martinson, who is a member of Brown-Selvig Post 212, Barron, had a similar report Monday, May 18. He said the decision was made to cancel the downtown parade and ceremony at Wayside Cemetery, in Barron.
Post members also decided not to make visits to various rural cemeteries in the area, which are the resting places for many Barron veterans.
With the advanced age of many of their comrades, local veterans decided to get creative as they planned for Memorial Day.
Barron resident Richard McGiffin, fellow veteran Jerry Juvi, and three Rice Lake Army recruiters decorated graves last week at small cemeteries south of Barron. The veterans were joined by staff sergeants Kevin Ayers, Damian Calwile and Kevin Bransted, as they placed small flags on veteran graves late last week.
“We vets got together to talk about doing this and we decided we needed some extra help,” McGiffin said Tuesday, May 19. “We called the recruiters in Rice Lake and they said they’d be glad to help.”
The five volunteers visited three cemeteries in the Dallas area on the morning of Friday, May 15, including Dallas, Evergreen and New Scandinavia.
McGiffin and his wife, Monika, decorated graves at two other cemeteries last week as well.