COVID-19 impacts Memorial Day ceremony plans in Valdosta

COVID-19 Tracker – Tracking Tests and Cases

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - If there wasn’t a pandemic, a Valdosta cemetery would be set up for a memorial event honoring those who have fallen while serving the country.

Stephen Blanton from American Legion at Sunset Hill Cemetery on Memorial Day.
Stephen Blanton from American Legion at Sunset Hill Cemetery on Memorial Day. (Source: WALB)

“Feels like we have lost but the main thing with the flag, that is the most resemblance, most recognized across the world, a symbol of freedom. That’s the best, when you see United States American flag, you see freedom and that’s why we put these flags here," said Stephen Blanton, president senior vice commander of the American Legion.

The American Legion was established by an act of Congress to take care of American war veterans and their families. Valdosta began Post 13 in 1919. The post was the thirteenth to be established in Georgia.

In previous years on Memorial Day, they have held ceremonies and would have someone from Moody Air Force as a speaker, local politicians and law enforcement come out.

This year, Blanton said nothing was going to stop him from putting flags on the grave, even if it meant doing it alone.

On Sunday, volunteers showed up at the cemetery and began placing the flags on the graves.

Blanton said that’s what made his Memorial Day, the patriotism, seeing people show up to place the flags and most of them weren’t even part of the organization.

“The things we are going through today is nothing like some of what our comrades went through,” Blanton said.

Memorial Day flags on graves at Sunset Hill Cemetery.
Memorial Day flags on graves at Sunset Hill Cemetery. (Source: WALB)

The American Legion is seeking members, if you would like to join, just contact your nearest post. You must have proof that you served.

Copyright 2020 WALB. All rights reserved.