KINGMAN – 2020 Memorial Day ceremonies were shorter and less populated than usual because of COVID-19 social distancing requirements and worries.
Roughly 50 people attended the annual 10 a.m. ceremony at Veterans Memorial Park in downtown Kingman that lasted slightly longer than 10 minutes. Marine Corps League Commandant Terry Flanagan had to yell over the sound of traffic and the wind as logistical glitches created scowls aimed toward City of Kingman departments.
A lack of electricity for the sound system created hearing difficulties, but most of all, a missing flag – sort of important for a holiday honoring the Armed Forces – put a heated damper on the event.
The flag at the center of the Veterans Memorial Park was absent as were the steel cables used to hold it. Flanagan was told by other veterans that they had seen the flag raised and illuminated earlier in the weekend but was absent Monday morning before the ceremony. He speculates the electricity was turned off as parks were closed during COVID shutdowns.
“It was there Saturday because people saw it,” Flanagan said. “Who knows what happened between then and now?”
He has made similar reservations for events honoring Veterans in the park before, knows city officials have his contact information and was shocked that nobody from the city had contacted him about any inconveniences.
“I wish someone would’ve gotten a hold of me,” Flanagan said. “I could’ve found somebody to fix the issues beforehand.”
That’s not the focus of this story and The Rattler will follow up on the communication gap.
Veterans do as they tend to do: adapt and overcome.
What is important is Veterans, their families and supporters made an effort to pay their respects to those who have given the ultimate sacrifice to their country. Despite the quarantines, restrictions and battling ideologies on the legitimacy of the COVID situation, people came together to honor those who are putting themselves in harm’s way.
“We wanted something simple, short and sweet,” Flanagan said. “We got together and pulled it off.
Many of the same attendees made their way to Mountain View Cemetery for an 11 a.m. observance. American Legion Post #14 hosted the event which went smoother. The Northern Arizona Patriot Guard Riders were not in attendance with their usual flag-carrying motorcade due to COVID social distancing precautions.
Speakers at both ceremonies praised the sacrifices of military servicemembers who have given their lives in service to our country. They also added an equal share of recognition for first responders and medical personnel who have been on the hectic front lines of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Memorial Day is to recognize, honor and mourn fallen military servicemembers and is often confused with Veterans Day which honors all servicemembers past and present.