2020: A Memorial Day like no other

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A 2020 Memorial Day Veterans Ceremony will take place in front of the obelisk located at Front and Centre streets starting at 11 a.m. Monday, May 25. It is hosted this year by the Marine Corps League of Nassau County.

  • Memorial Day 2020: Remember and honor.
    Memorial Day 2020: Remember and honor.
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By John Scherer, Veteran's Voice

 

For bereaved individuals and families, this year’s Memorial Day observance will be like no other.

This most sacred of days is not just a part of another three-day weekend. May 25thdenotes both a solemn time and day to honor and celebrate the lives of our brave veterans and loved ones lost from all our conflicts, present and past, giving all of us another chance to heal from the hurt of lives cut far too short and families torn apart.

It brings, once again, hope of closure for the mourning of their spouses, children, grandchildren, mothers and fathers, friends and neighbors.

There are many who have reoccurring thoughts of “what may have been” in their lives had their loved one returned home. This special day is always an opportunity to find the closure they need but find so hard to obtain.

This day to remember our lost loved ones also helps us remember the living veterans of many wars and conflicts, and directly relates to the success of many survivors. Some of our returning service veterans who did make it home have many needs. I know that serving these current, reoccurring and perhaps permanent needs, and those of their families, are also a huge part of Memorial Day. I know that the wishes of those who did not return would be to care for those who did! Remembering and respecting our many fallen creates a “mirror image” for the living to model their lives after, inspiring personal growth in conduct, values, education, and doing what is right.

There is hands-on assistance available to every veteran, regardless of period of service. There are services available for medical and mental health issues, rehabilitation, handicaps and disabilities assistance, either in-service or after-effects of service, pensions deserved, audiology and vision care, and many other areas of support. If you are a veteran or care about a veteran, there are individuals who are available to meet your needs and answer all of your questions. Please call Nassau County Veterans Service Officer Bob Sullivan at (904) 548-4670, the VA Clinic in St. Marys, Ga. at (912) 510-3420, or the VA Clinic in downtown Jacksonville at (904) 475-5800. You can also call the “Veterans Crisis Line” at (800) 273-8255, then press 1. This number provides 24/7/365 immediate support for veterans of all eras.

I have been advised by the city of Fernandina Beach that a 2020 Memorial Day Veterans Ceremony will take place in front of the obelisk located at Front and Centre streets starting at 11 a.m. Monday, May 25. It is hosted this year by the Marine Corps League of Nassau County.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has stated that there will be no placing of American flags on the gravesites at the VA national cemeteries this year due to the COVID-19 impact and the CDC’s mandate against the possibility of large crowds of people gathering. But the VA national cemeteries in cities like Jacksonville will be open for individual visitors.

The placing of American flags on individual gravesites has been replaced this year by “solemn wreath laying ceremonies” at every national cemetery “to honor veteran service members” sacrifices with the dignity and respect they have earned through their service and sacrifice. These will not be open to the public.

The American Veterans Center, which oversees the National Memorial Day Parade, telecast nationwide, advised that there will not be a parade this year.

It is my sincere wish that we keep Memorial Day within us each and every day throughout our lives, “Lest We Ever Forget.”