Memorial Day events will look different amid coronavirus pandemic

FARGO, N.D. — The COVID-19 pandemic won’t prevent local veteran organizations from honoring fallen service members this Memorial Day.

U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs Fargo National Cemetery will hold it’s inaugural Memorial Day event online, sharing the celebration with the public through Facebook at 2 p.m.

North Dakota Congressman Kelly Armstrong will be the keynote speaker, and both North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum and Minnesota Governor Tim Walz will also take part in the virtual ceremony.

Fargo-Moorhead based Veteran groups are also planning to go on with their annual celebrations, holding two ceremonies on the Holiday.

The first will be at Riverside Cemetery at 11 a.m. and the second at Sunset Memorial Gardens at noon.

“We’ll have guest speakers at both that have put a lot of time and effort into writing a good speech. One is a daughter of a Vietnam veteran who is the commander of the Fargo VFW color guard. That is at Riverside,” said Commander of the F-M United Patriotic Bodies, Jason Hicks. “Then at Sunset, one of our local Vietnam Veterans is going to speak.”

In addition, the Veteran organizations will also visit every cemetery in the Fargo-Moorhead area to preform a prayer, rifle salute, and taps.

Despite coronavirus concerns, Hicks says these kind of events are very low risk for those in attendance.

“The social distancing thing has never been an issue because people just kind of sit where they want anyways,” said Hicks. “We don’t set up chairs. People actually bring their own chairs and come to the program.”

Hicks says the only concern with social distancing will potentially be with the band and the color guard, but they are finding ways to have both of those groups there safely.

To watch the Fargo National Cemetery’s online ceremony, visit this page.

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