Emporians will still have a chance to honor and reflect on the lives of the fallen during a special Memorial Day Celebration — though the event will look a little different this year.
American Legion Post No. 5 representative Ron Whitney said that due to the novel coronavirus the service has been pre-recorded. It will air on ValuNet television and KVOE-TV 9:30 a.m. Monday.
“It would have been a major disappointment if we wouldn’t have been able to have a service,” Whitney said. “It’s always really important to us.”
Whitney said the American Legion worked with members of VFW Post No. 1980 to come up with the idea to record a smaller-scale version of the service. The service was recorded at the All Veterans Memorial Wednesday evening.
“Between the VFW and the American Legion we came up with this plan to pre-record the service,” he said. “It’s important to us to have this service one way or another. We decided to go down [to the memorial] with a skeleton crew and keep things to a minimum. It turned out well.”
Whitney said the service will look difference than what people may be accustomed to based on previous years, with everyone present taking great care to adhere to social distancing guidelines.
There will only be one speaker at the podium at a time. No guest speakers or elected officials were invited to the service this year, and there was no performance by the Emporia Municipal Band.
Even the firing squad, usually standing shoulder-to-shoulder, has been spaced apart.
“It turned out really well, I think,” Whitney said.
Whitney said another reason he and other members of the American Legion and VFW wanted to put on a Memorial Day service was due to the community’s involvement in the events each year.
“We always have a good turnout and it’s something that we wanted to do for the community also,” he said. “Although we aren’t able to have the community come down, this way they can still tune in and still get the effect of it.”