ANDERSONVILLE, Ga. — This Memorial Day weekend, we honor the men and women who died serving in the military.
Coronavirus has upended a lot of the usual holiday traditions.
On a typical Memorial Day weekend, Andersonville National Historic Site would entertain 1,500 people for their emotional service, but this year, you will have to catch it on your computer .
The cemetery dates back to 1865 and usually the first thing you would notice when you come to Andersonville Memorial Day weekend is the flags in front of the graves. That's not going to happen this year due to the coronavirus and social distancing -- they couldn't get 300 volunteers together to put the flags out.
And there are more changes as well this year, and as park ranger Jody Mays explains, they'll host a virtual service only.
"That 3:00 moment of remembrance is going to be on our Facebook page through Facebook Live," she said.
Mays says that their Memorial Day Facebook event will connect folks in Central Georgia to veterans all over the country.
"The virtual ceremony event, there's over 30 different parks that are participating in that and they are all going to post different content all through the day, so it will be an all-day event," she said with a smile.
Because of coronavirus, the buildings at Andersonville and the restrooms are shut down right now.
The staff will stick with tradition with two events happening Sunday, but they will post everything online.
"We are going to have a wreath laying on Sunday and then we have a local bagpiper who's going to come out and play 'Amazing Grace,'" she explained.
Those events aren't open to the public, but you can still come out and tour the hallowed ground anytime this weekend.
And remember -- it won't be like this forever. In fact, Mays says since we've all had to deal with coronavirus, now more than eve,r we owe it to our veterans to say, "Thank you."
"With everything going on, I think it's important to remember the spirit of America, what different men and women have sacrificed to create this country, and to appreciate the freedoms we have which we all appreciate more after having to shelter-in-place so much," she said.
So we will honor the fallen, we will just do it at a distance.
Andersonville is in the first phase of reopening.
Mays says to get to that second phase and open the restrooms and the buildings, they have to see declining coronavirus numbers in Georgia, Florida, and Alabama.
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