LIMA — Despite the cancellation of several area Memorial Day parades and services, communities are still finding ways to honor those who died fighting for our country.
Department of Veterans Services director Deborah Ashenhurst released a recommendation that gatherings, parades and other mass gatherings be canceled in ordinance with the state orders.
“Public and private gatherings of more than ten people are still prohibited unless specifically exempted. Memorial Day events have not been exempted,” the letter states. “Therefore, ceremonies in cemeteries (or other locations) with bands, honor guards, speakers and observers should not be planned or executed.”
Lima officially canceled its annual parade on May 4, and others began trickling in. Bluffton, Delphos, Kenton, Ohio City, Ottawa and St. Marys are among those who canceled parades and other services.
Instead, Ashenhurst and the department recommends smaller gatherings with facial coverings and social distancing or other options that involved limited interaction like displaying wreaths or flags at gravesites, drive-by salutes and the playing of Taps. The Bluffton American Legion and Spencerville VFW are among those who have been or will be placing flags at gravesites.
“Those who we honor on Memorial Day made significant sacrifices throughout history so that we can know the freedoms we enjoy today,” the letter states. “For us to forgo our normal traditions on this Memorial Day only seems benefitting to keep our fellow veterans, friends and community members safe.”
The following events will be held throughout the region:
• Convoy: Parade 10 a.m. followed by memorial service at 10:30 a.m. at I.O.O.F. Cemetery, 6200 Township Highway 176, Convoy.
• Delphos: The Veterans Council Burial Detail will host a short, private service at 11 a.m. No guests will be permitted. Those interested in observing should remain in their cars or on the sidewalks.
• Fort Jennings: Pre-recorded services will be aired at 11 a.m. on the American Legion Post 715’s Facebook Page.
• Kenton: Private services will be held at 11 a.m. in Grove Cemetery.
• Ottawa: Annual Memorial Day barbecue with JT’s BBQ from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the VFW Post 9142 bingo hall, 212 W. Second St., Ottawa. Tickets are not required, and it is open to the public.
• Spencerville: Drive-thru chicken tender dinners from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the VFW, 130 S. Broadway St., Spencerville.
Reach Tara Jones at 567-242-0511.