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Memorial Day: 6 feet apart at hallowed grounds

As a veteran, I look forward to the special-meaning holidays of Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Veterans Day.

With the global arrival of COVID-19, this Memorial Day will most certainly be a different celebration than in years past.

No large community gathering nor parade before World War II, Korean, Lebanon, Vietnam, Desert Shield and Storm, Bosnia, Somali, Afghanistan, Iraq, and other war theater veterans. Along with those who served during the priceless slivers of peace time.

The American flag will still flutter. I would tend to think a few lone buglers will play taps. And, perhaps in some cities, there will be a military aircraft flyover with a missing man formation.

This year, six feet apart, family members and dear friends will visit Little Flanders Field and other Northeast Michigan cemeteries, planting a small American flag by a veteran headstone or columbarium marker.

Even with these dramatic changes, prayers can be offered, tears shed, smiles given, photos shared, and love letters written. Some veterans might even squeeze into their military uniform for a photo or video opportunity by a front door-displayed American flag.

America has faced many and varied challenges since our founding. In almost every instance, we have addressed and conquered. We will indeed find solutions for COVID-19.

This Memorial Day, be it very different, is again time to thank those who gave their lives for our freedom and cherished tenets of the United States of America.

A snappy hand salute to you, ladies and gentlemen veterans, from a sailor.

Jeffrey D. Brasie is a U.S. Navy veteran, former Alpena resident, and retired healthcare CEO. He writes historic feature stories and resides in suburban Detroit.

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