SUNNYSIDE — The Sunnyview VFW Post 3482 Commander Bill Ingram and American Legion Post 73 Commander Greg Schlieve have agreed to honor veterans on Memorial Day weekend by amending their annual tradition to meet social distancing guidelines required to keep the community safe.

The VFW and American Legion have held many events for local veterans and have been unable to do many of them due to cancelations, including closing their own doors.

Manager and treasurer of the Auxiliary of Sunnyview VFW Sharon Hallman anguishes over the loss of revenue and hopes to regain some traction in June with the help of donations from the public. She elaborated they haven’t been able to earn revenue because “We’re not set up like most restaurants. We have a small bar, but you can’t set people that far apart.”

Hallman thanked those who have donated including the public, local businesses, and VFW members in order to keep the post running after the government restrictions have been lifted.

Hallman pressed that the VFW is not just a bar. “It’s for our veterans. We can’t hold our VFW meetings, we can’t hold our elections, we can’t go to our conventions, it’s just kind of tied the hands of the VFW and American Legion.”

Both Commanders of the VFW and American Legion, Ingram and Schlieve, agree the “time-honored ceremony” should still take place. Schlieve expressed Memorial Day is important to “teach patriotism to one’s children and grandchildren.”

About 1,600 flags will be set out on the graves of veterans with volunteers meeting at 6 a.m. on Saturday, May 23. at the Lower Valley Memorial Gardens Cemetery on Van Belle Road.

Flags will also be placed at the adjoining cemeteries on Cemetery Road, Outlook Cemetery on Gap Road, and the Episcopal Church on Edison Avenue at 6 a.m.

While the usual Memorial Day Program will not be held, however, at 11 a.m. on Monday, May 25, the Honor Guard will fire the solemn 21-Gun Salute and play “Taps” in memory of fallen soldiers at the War Veterans Memorial at the Lower Valley Memorial Gardens Cemetery on Van Belle Road.

Schlieve also asks people wishing to help place flags on graves to bring their own masks and gloves and to maintain 6-feet distance as duties are being performed.

The flags are set to be gathered from the graves on Memorial Day, May 25, at 6 p.m. also with the help of the public seeking to participate.

Elizabeth Sustaita can be contacted at 509-837-4500, ext. 114 or email esustaita@sunnysidesun.com.

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