Memorial Day online
Virus forces communities to honor a new way
By Steve Metsch
With Memorial Day fast approaching, several communities have opted to hold scaled back ceremonies and in some cases are going virtual.
The Village of Lyons, which normally marks Memorial Day with a ceremony at the eternal flame outside the pumping station on Ogden Avenue, is one of the area communities taking things online this year.
The move is being done for fears of spreading the coronavirus at a large public gathering.
Ted Tala, director of the village’s parks and recreation department, said the change was needed because of stay-at-home orders, which limit how many people can gather safely.
“We’re going to be putting together a nice video that’s taking the place of our Memorial Day ceremony,” Tala said.
“It will launch live on our Facebook page, on Memorial Day, live at 11 a.m.,” Tala said. “Obviously, we take Memorial Day very seriously over here, and we didn’t want to scrap it all together.”
The goal, Tala said, is to “keep everyone in good spirits.”
“With a lot of events cancelled, this is something we can still honor,” Tala said.
Tala and village public relations director Kevin Thomas are putting the video together.
The eternal flame, Hoffman Tower, and other locations around Lyons will be featured in the video, “along with some important people around town, the American Legion, Marines, things like that,” Tala said.
The village’s police and fire departments will likely be in the video, he said.
“We started storyboarding it. We’re working around schedules of Legion members, police and fire. We’re putting it together little by little,” Tala said.
Tala added that the village’s Music in the Park summer concert series at Veterans Park is still planned to start July 8 and run through Aug. 26.
“We’re still in the works on that,” Tala said.
“All of the arrangements we’re making with bands, concert dates, this and that, are being done with the stipulation it may be rescheduled or postponed,” Tala said. “But as of right now we’re planning to go ahead.”
In Justice, Trustee Fran Mills said that contrary to earlier information from the mayor, the village has not cancelled its annual Memorial Day ceremony, but will hold a short, scaled back ceremony at 9 a.m. on Monday, May 25.
“The mayor will present the ceremonial wreath at the monument,” Mills said in an email. “The pledge and a prayer will be said.”
She said social distancing would be observed. She estimated the ceremony would last “about 15 minutes.”
In Palos Park, Village Manager Rick Boehm said the village was planning a “virtual Memorial Day celebration.”
“We can’t have a bunch of people gathering around. We’ve had to cancel most of our building rentals (for private events) for the same reason.”
Boehm said the prerecorded ceremony would be “fairly simple. The Boy Scouts will present the colors, the mayor will be there as will County Commissioner Sean Morrison. The video will be broadcast on Memorial Day.”
Boehm said the ceremony would be posted to the village’s Facebook page and website starting at 3 p.m. Friday.
Orland Park will also hold a virtual Memorial Day ceremony that will be broadcast live.
The live broadcast will begin at 11 a.m. on Monday, May 25. Those interested in virtual participation can view the program on Orland Park’s YouTube channel at YouTube.com/user/villageoforlandpark.Those who are subscribed to the Village YouTube channel will be automatically notified of the live broadcast.
A recording of the ceremony will be posted on the village’s social media accounts, cable access channel (Comcast channel 4 and AT&T U-Verse channel 99) and YouTube channel after the live viewing.
Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese of Chicago will broadcast Memorial Day Masses online on Monday, May 25, at 8:30 a.m.
All in-person field Masses at nearly 40 Catholic cemeteries have been cancelled because of COVID-19. The Masses will be recorded in three languages, English, Spanish and Polish by Bishop-elect Michael McGovern, Bishop Robert Casey and Bishop Andrew Wypych, respectively, and will be available for viewing atwww.CatholicCemeteriesChicago.org.
“Traditionally, our Memorial Day Masses draw thousands to honor our veterans but because of safety precautions for our veterans and community, we will observe the Masses online this year,” said Ted Ratajczyk, executive director of the Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese of Chicago. “Our online Masses will pay tribute to those who have served our great country and our loved ones who have gone before us.”
Cemetery grounds will be open on Memorial Day with visiting hours from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Staff members will be onsite and available to assist families. Visitors must abide by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, wear protective facial coverings and respect social distancing directives. Only gatherings of 10 or less are permitted.
— Desplaines Valley News