Some graves had flags placed next to them on Memorial Day, but others did not due to the coronavirus pandemic. STAFF/ PARKER PERRY

Coronavirus: Some pay respects, but crowds slowed on Memorial Day

A steady flow of people came in and out of Dayton’s National Cemetery Monday to place flags on graves and commemorate those who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of the United States.

But, the day overall was starkly different from Memorial Days in years past as the coronavirus pandemic put a damper on an important day of recognition.

A drone’s-eye view of the beautiful and somber Dayton National Cemetery

“Everything has been shut down this year,” said Thomas Jones, the cemetery’s honor squad commander. “I wish we could get back to the way things were.”

In previous years, flags were placed at each grave at the national cemetery, hundreds gathered for a ceremony to honor the men and women buried there and even more visited the cemetery to see their loved ones who are laid to rest. The cemetery is perhaps the epicenter of Memorial Day commemoration in the region as it’s the final resting place for thousands of local veterans.

But even though this year didn’t have the events, some did show up including families with children who spent some time teaching about what the men and women did for their own lives. Others visited the site and placed American flags on graves. Many visited the cemetery to see lost loved ones who are buried there.

Meanwhile, events throughout the Miami Valley were canceled this year, too. On a typical Memorial Day, hundreds of people gather on the sidewalks for community parades throughout the Miami Valley to commemorate and honor those who died in service to the United States. However, parades in Miamisburg, Springboro, and Springfield were canceled this year because of the coronavirus.

Meanwhile, Centerville and Fairborn hosted a virtual memorial day program that can be found on each of their respective Facebook pages and websites. The speakers said honoring those who gave everything is just as important on this Memorial Day as any other.

The city of Beavercreek hosted a small ceremony at Veteran Memorial Park, but asked that a large crowd not gather and respect social distancing rules. Tremont City in Clark County did host their memorial day parade over the weekend.

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Also, the coronavirus pandemic slowed crowds in areas that are typically filled with people like in the Oregon District, where only a small contingent made their way to the area during lunchtime. It didn’t prevent others from enjoying local parks like Hills and Dales Metropark in Kettering where people were seen both hiking the trials and playing golf in the area Monday.

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