Travel Buddy: Julia Hart

Like so much else about this spring of pandemic isolation, things that usually bring pleasure to each of us are prohibited in the name of personal and community safety.

Activities that we each took for granted and richly enjoyed like three-day weekends or visiting relatives on a whim are among the activities on the short list of no-no’s as we ride out the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order, recognized as the only way to slow the spread of COVID-19.

This year more than ever we need to remember our military heroes, those family members who paid their dues in any of the branches of the United States armed forces.

The simple act of putting flowers or small American flags on the headstones of loved ones requires attention to social distancing.

Local post commanders have struggled to find ways to give a proper nod to past veterans while giving the living a place to observe the tradition.

While some of the pomp we are used to will be missing, without a doubt the emotion of the local programs will be amplified.

The red, white, and blue banners will be placed on the headstones of veterans, at least 1,550 just at Lower Valley Memorial Gardens.

Volunteers who are dedicated to placing the small tributes will practice social distancing during the quiet early morning duty.

But more help is needed.

Local veterans post commanders have issued a plea to those able to come to help at any of the area memorial sites.

Although I don’t like getting up and out the door at 6 a.m. on Saturday mornings, even I can spare a few minutes to place a flag on any of the thousands of veteran grave sites located in our lower valley communities.

The shortened mid-day program at noon Monday, May 25, should still be attended, even if I might only be able to participate from the comfort of inside my car.

It’s Memorial Day, but it’s more than a day to be thankful for those who have served; we should be thankful to those serving now and for the families who have supported those services which have built the foundation of our country.

Julia Hart can be reached at 509-837-4500, ext. 123 or at

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