With traditional ceremonies canceled, commemorating Memorial Day will be different

Commemorating fallen soldiers on Memorial Day this year will be a little different due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Gilroy’s Memorial Day Parade, which annually draws hundreds along 10th Street to honor fallen soldiers, has been canceled for 2020 due to virus concerns, the Gilroy Community Organization announced April 3. The Family Fun Day and Car Show at Christmas Hill Park, which follows the parade, has also been canceled.

In Hollister, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9242 and American Legion Post 69 will still visit the graves of those who died in war, but in a smaller ceremony.

Memorial Day is a federal holiday to remember, honor and mourn all the military personnel who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Memorial Day observance began after the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971.

Over the course of the country’s more than 240-year history, roughly 1.3 million Americans have died as casualties of war.

While the community may not be able to gather in honor of the dead, they can still show their appreciation in a number of other ways.

Albert Lambert, chair of the Gilroy Memorial Day Committee, shared a number of ways the community can commemorate Memorial Day.

Show of patriotism

Throughout May, the public is encouraged to fly an American flag at their home or place of business.

Paying respect

People are encouraged to visit the grave site of a veteran family member and leave a small American flag.

Keeping tabs

Check in on a veteran neighbor to see how they are doing. Make sure you stand at least six feet apart to follow social distancing protocols.

Rock stars

A new cultural phenomenon has reached South Valley and San Benito County during the shelter-in-place order. Locals are painting rocks and placing them in areas for other people to find and share on social media. For Memorial Day, paint a rock with a patriotic theme and place it somewhere around town.

Going green

The public is encouraged to turn a light green, whether it’s on the porch, inside the home or at the office, then take a picture and share it on social media with the hashtag #greenlightavet. It’s part of the national Greenlight a Vet movement, which shows support for veterans.

Tune in live

On Memorial Day, May 25, at 3pm, the Gilroy Veterans Hall and Gilroy Memorial Day Parade Facebook pages will present a live performance of Taps by Tom Brozene and Jimmy Brozene as part of the annual National Moment of Remembrance.