SALT LAKE CITY — The 2020 Memorial Day commemorations will be unlike anything offered in past years.
Because of the current pandemic, changes have been made to traditional Memorial Day observances. The Utah Department of Veterans & Military Affairs offers a number of alternative ways to pay tribute to the fallen this holiday.
“How Utahns honor the men and women who have lost their lives defending the United States will look different from past Memorial Day observances by necessity,” Gary Harter, executive director of UDVMA, is quoted in a news release. “While the department will not hold public ceremonies, Utah will still honor the fallen and Veterans with solemn dignity and respect.”
Among the suggestions for celebrating Memorial Day offered by the veterans and military group:
• At 9 a.m. Monday, May 25, the UDVMA will stream a brief wreath-laying ceremony on the department’s Facebook page, at facebook.com/udvma. The video will include remarks from Gov. Gary Herbert, Brig. Gen. Michael Turley and other dignitaries. The virtual ceremony will be accompanied by a moment of silence and the playing of taps.
• As a result of state and national guidelines limiting large gatherings due to COVID-19, the department will not host public wreath-laying ceremonies this Memorial Day at the Utah Veterans Cemetery & Memorial Park. However, flags have been placed at all gravesites at the cemetery.
Families are invited to continue the tradition of placing flowers and small American flags at their veteran’s gravesites. However, the chapel, administration building and restrooms are closed due to the pandemic.
When possible, visitors are urged to consider visiting the cemetery on a day other than Monday, to avoid potential Memorial Day crowds.
• At 3 p.m. Monday, Utahns are asked to join in a one-minute National Moment of Remembrance to honor those who have died in military service to the United States. Utahns are invited to sound taps from their home, porch or front yard, and a video of the bugle call will be streamed on the department’s Facebook page at that time.
• Individuals and businesses are encouraged to fly the U.S. flag at half-staff from sunrise until noon on Monday, in observance of Memorial Day.
• As part of the “Happiness for Heroes” initiative, Utahns are invited to share messages of encouragement, gratitude and hope with the residents of the state’s four veterans homes. Submit videos, letters, artwork and other messages at veterans.utah.gov/happiness.
• And finally, for those on social media, a Utah Memorial Day profile frame is available for download on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/profilepicframes/?selected_overlay_id=2523020141134104.
For more information, visit veterans.utah.gov, or call 801-326-2372.