COVID-19 changes the way Michigan marks Memorial Day | Michigan Radio
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COVID-19 changes the way Michigan marks Memorial Day

May 25, 2020

Social distancing at a Memorial Day observance at the Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly, Michigan
Credit steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Across Michigan Monday, Memorial Day observances are different from past years because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly, the sound of taps mixed with birdsong during a Memorial Day ceremony.

Normally, thousands of people come to honor the nation’s fallen servicemen and women in Holly.

But because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the public was barred from this year’s observance.

Instead about 10 people, cemetery workers and officials, held a brief ceremony.

Garth Wootten is the director of veterans' services for Oakland County. He’s also the president of the cemetery’s advisory board. 

Wootten says it’s important for the ceremony to go on, even without the public in attendance.

“It’s always nice to have the large crowds and to see the people and to know people are taking time out of their day to be here for that,” says Wootten. “But we still wanted to make sure that we did something to acknowledge them.”

Around Michigan, communities canceled Memorial Day parades and events over concerns related to the coronavirus.

Some groups around the state are holding virtual Memorial Day observances on social media.