CHICAGO (CBS) — The coronavirus pandemic has changed a lot of things, including Memorial Day and how people honor the memories of those who have died.
CBS 2’s Lauren Victory went to the veterans cemetery in Elwood and found while people wore masks, they couldn’t hide their emotion.
It different kind memorial day celebration. There were groups of people at the Veterans Cemetery in Elwood.
There was no “Taps,” no “God Bless America” or the National Anthem. The song of silence hung over Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery where the coronavirus canceled Memorial Day services but not traditions.
Private Joshua Anderson is Delores Smith’s youngest son. The family visits his final resting place every Memorial Day to remember him and the thousands of military men and women Private Anderson lays next to.
“We lost Joshua in, wow, 2011,” Smith said of coming to his resting site. “It’s an honor. It’s an honor.”
A few plots over, Jesse Patton, Sr. His namesake wouldn’t let COVID-19 ruin this holiday meant for heroes.
“I’m actually Jesse, Jr. and he’s Jesse, Sr.,” said Patton. “I deeply reflect on the values that he taught me.”
Others were too distraught to share the importance of coming to the cemetery during a pandemic. They brought flowers to decorate the grounds and balloons for the sky.
That’s where Betty Sieple’s husband and Jan Kates’ dad spent a lot of time.
“He was in the Air Force for 39 years,” Kates said. “He loved it.”
Passion remembered. It keeps the people left behind going. So does the bible for Smith.
“Do not be discouraged or dismayed, for your god is with you wherever you go.”
Many visitors wondered why the small Memorial Day flags were missing from graves. The National Cemetery Administration said it’s not oversight. The flags require volunteers and COVID-19 didn’t make that possible.
Honored to have spent my #MemorialDay2020 working on a story at the #veterans cemetery in Elwood, #IL. Families didn’t let #COVID ruin plans to visit loved ones like Private Joshua Anderson and Jesse Patton Sr. Story on @cbschicago pic.twitter.com/peMRH0effc
— LAUREN VICTORY (@LaurenVictory) May 25, 2020