Memorial Day

Beau Simmons/Stillwater News Press Flags flow gently in the breeze at the gravesites of veterans Friday at Sunset Memorial Gardens. Sunset will not have a public service this Memorial Day. 

Memorial Day services, like so many other events altered in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, have for the most part been canceled in our area and in many places around the country.

There are no prohibitions in place about people visiting our local cemeteries and decorating grave sites, but COVID-19 has caused the cancellation of public services at Sunset Memorial Gardens and Fairlawn Cemetery in Stillwater. 

Typically, Sunset Memorial Gardens and Fairlawn Cemetery would host Monday services featuring guest speakers, “Taps” and other remembrances to honor those lost in military service. Sunset already had its flags out by Friday evening, but it will not host a service. Fairlawn will also not host a Monday service, but weather permitting there will be an early morning presence from the American Legion.

Hanner-Sharp America Legion Post 129 Adjutant Richard Opdyke posted a message on their Facebook Page about their plans.

“The Memorial Day program (May 25th) has been cancelled due to the virus,” he wrote. “We plan to put up flags at the cemetery entrances and the immediate area about the main flag pole at 0730 on Monday, May 25th, IF IT DOESN’T RAIN. Right now the forecast doesn’t look good for flags.”

The Memorial Day service usually held in Langston at the Wm Conrad Memorial has also been canceled. The organizers said their service wasn't canceled because of the pandemic – they were planning to have one with social distancing guidelines – but it was in stead canceled due to the forecasted bad weather. 

The only public service the News Press has been notified about will be at Billings Union Cemetery in Noble County. The Monday service begins 11 a.m. with Kurtis Stoll as the speaker. John Chestnut will play Taps and there will be a gun salute. Billings Union Cemetery is on Yearling Road between County Road 40 and 30.

If you are planning a public service that you would like the News Press to post online, send the information to editor@stwnewspress.com

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