SOMERS, N.Y. - Memorial Day is too important an American tradition to let go without being commemorated in New York, said Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo Tuesday, May 19, in announcing that the state would allow small ceremonies and car-only parades.
Whether to hold them or not will be up to individual communities, he said during his regular conoronavirus briefing.
“We want to honor our veterans and we want to make sure that no matter what happens that we honor our veterans,” Cuomo said.
The state will allow ceremonies of 10 people or less, based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regulations.
The governor said he hoped that those ceremonies are broadcast so that everyone can be part of honoring that tradition.
He also said that he thought car-only parades would be “appropriate” and should be “encouraged.”
“Again, this is an important tradition. Many people lost their lives. This is important to many, many families all across this state and nation. It’s important to the veterans that they be recognized. And I think we can do that and we can do it safely.”
According to Grace Zimmerman of the Somers Historical Society, there will be no formal ceremony at the Veterans Memorial in Ivandell Cemetery this year.
However, the society is putting together a virtual Memorial Day with the help of other organizations such as the Somers Volunteer Fire Department. The program will be broadcast live on local public access channels and via Zoom at 11 a.m. Monday, May 25. The link to the Zoom conference will be posted on the society’s and fire department’s Facebook pages and the town’s website, somersny.com.
It will also be recorded so folks can watch it later.
On Sunday, May 24, the society’s regular History at Home presentation will feature the Veterans Memorial, the names on it, and the meaning behind the day, Zimmerman said.
Local organizations can still leave wreaths at the memorial. (Just so long as they observe social distancing and take the appropriate safety measures.)
Local Boy Scouts are planning to put American flags on the graves of veterans at Ivandell Cemetery.
Boy Scout leader Andy Cheung, of Troop 376, said the Scouts took over the placement of the flags last year after the local VFW disbanded.
This year, individual Scouts, along with their parents, will again perform this community service.
“This is an important tradition and it should continue,” Cheung said.
Because of the ban on large gatherings, such participating Scout, and his parents, will go at a pre-selected time to the cemetery this week, he added.
They will remove the old flags and replace them with new ones. The worn-out emblems will be “retired” at a ceremony at one of the troop’s campouts, whenever those are again allowed.
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