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2020 Memorial Day Observance

Published May 11, 2020

As announced earlier this month, the City has made the difficult decision to cancel the annual Memorial Day observance due to the public health risk posed by COVID-19. The City will explore opportunities to honor the memory of fallen service men and women at the Veterans' Day ceremony in November.

Capt. Ray Leung, commanding officer of Naval Station Great Lakes has shared this special message for Memorial Day 2020. Although we cannot observe the holiday together in person, the City encourages all to take a few moments to watch this video in honor of the sacrifices made by American service men and women. 

The City invites residents to join a virtual Memorial Day observance by creating paper poppies and posting them in street-facing windows. Click here to download instructions to create your own poppies. 

The following poem is an important traditional aspect of the City's Memorial Day ceremony. Written by Lt. Col. John McCrae, the poem memorializes the loss of life in World War I, where Lt. Col. McCrae served as a physician. Learn more about Lt. Col. McCrae in this article from the Poetry Foundation

In Flanders Fields
John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
        In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
    The torch; be yours to hold it high.
    If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
        In Flanders fields.

The City encourages all residents to mark the solemn occasion of Memorial Day by participating in one of these suggested activities at home, while following social distancing guidelines: 

• Participate in a national Moment of Remembrance at 3PM to pause and think upon the meaning of the day
• Fly a U.S. flag
• Wear your patriotic spirit
• Donate to veterans' charities
• Send a thank-you letter or message to a soldier currently serving
• Remember your family’s veterans
• Read the poem, In Flanders Fields, by Lieutenant Colonel John McRae
• Display a poppy, a symbol of remembrance for veterans
• Watch a movie or read a book that looks soldiers who lost their lives in service of the greater good