PORTSMOUTH — Despite the unusual circumstances surrounding this year’s Memorial Day holiday, volunteers will be needed to help plant flags at Portsmouth’s Greenlawn Cemetery Friday, May 22.
Scioto County Memorial Day Association President Donna Lewis stated that those wishing to help place flags on more than 3,500 graves of veterans located at Greenlawn Cemetery may do so by volunteering at the cemetery at 9 a.m. the morning of the 22nd.
The 2020 social distancing version of the annual tradition of remembering those who risked their lives for American freedom will take place under the direction of Rhonda Madison, the Grave Flagging Chairperson for the Scioto County Memorial Day Association.
“We were a little hesitant at first because the flags were on backorder, but the flags did come in,” Lewis said. “We will be doing that this Friday morning, everyone’s to meet at the cemetery at 9 a.m. She (Rhonda) will be passing out flags and giving volunteers a section of the cemetery, and everyone will just put the flag on the veteran’s grave.”
The SCMDA is asking all volunteers to practice social distancing and to wear masks during this year’s grave flagging ceremony.
If each of the more than 3,500 graves which need flagged can’t be completed by noon Friday, the SCMDA stated that volunteers may return Saturday morning at 9 a.m. to complete their work.
“We are asking people to wear a mask, especially when you’re in line to pick up your flags. There might be a few people waiting,” Lewis said. “But once you get out into your section to place your flags, you can take your mask off as you’re not going to be bunched up with other people.”
Flags courtesy of the SCMDA have also been given to cemeteries countywide in remembrance of those who served our country.
“We’ve given flags to some of the outlying areas,” Lewis said. “Different organizations will take the flags and put on the graves themselves.”
In a somber note regarding the SCMDA’s holiday weekend plans, Lewis confirmed to the Portsmouth Daily Times Tuesday that the group, unfortunately, made the decision to cancel the 2020 Portsmouth-Scioto County Memorial Day parade after discussing its’ feasibility with local and state officials.
“We spoke with the veteran’s services office, the city manager, and of course the governor has said no parades,” Lewis said. “We waited and waited, and we decided it would be best to cancel all the ceremonies for this year.”
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved