Memorial Day events cancelled
CRYSTAL FALLS/IRON RIVER — With the extension of the state’s Stay Home, Stay Safe order through May 28, events that often draw a crowd are being cancelled because of the COVID-19 restrictions against public gatherings.
So the cascade of cancellations has begun, and now that includes Memorial Day events in Iron County. Both the West Side Veterans Council and the East Side Veterans Council, which lead Memorial Day ceremonies, reported that their usual slate of events will not be held this year.
“We will put up flags, at social distancing, but the events where people gather are cancelled unless (Gov. Gretchen Whitmer) lifts the restrictions,” Iron County Veterans Service Officer Jerry Williams said, speaking for the West Side Vets Council which consists of the VFW, the American Legion and AMVETS.
This effectively means that all ceremonies, including parades and programs at county cemeteries, have been cancelled.
The original Stay Home, Stay Safe executive order from Gov. Whitmer stated “to suppress the spread of COVID-19, to prevent the state’s health care system from being overwhelmed, to allow time for the production of critical test kits, ventilators, and personal protective equipment, to establish the public health infrastructure necessary to contain the spread of infection, and to avoid needless deaths, it is reasonable and necessary to direct residents to remain at home or in their place of residence to the maximum extent feasible.”
This eventually included the social distancing requirement of keeping 6 feet between people and the restrictions against crowds of more than 10.
Dennis Brozak spoke for the East Side Vets Council.
“We are definitely disappointed because it was a very important veterans’ activity to honor our members who have contributed as much as their lives for our country. We feel bad that we can’t hold this activity to honor them. But at the same time, we understand what’s happening right now and we want to prevent additional (problems).”
The city of Crystal Falls owns the Evergreen Memorial Cemetery where the event is usually held. Crystal Falls City Manager Gerard Valesano said the city will follow the governor’s orders.
The Bates Township Board of Trustees released a statement on May 14, reporting the cancellation of events in Bates.
“The Bates Township Board of Trustees would like to express our sincere regret that we will be cancelling our Memorial Day ceremony and continental breakfast due to the Governor’s Stay Home order, which at this writing, is in effect until May 28.
“We would like to encourage everyone to take a moment on Memorial Day, as we will do, and remember all those who have served and are serving. We give thanks for the sacrifices that they and their families have made to provide us with the freedoms that we enjoy today.
“To all veterans, we salute you and we extend a heartfelt thank you.
“We look forward to next year when we hope to have the privilege and opportunity to honor our veterans once again on Memorial Day!”