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GVCMC director Linda Lavender speaks at the Memorial Day ceremony in this 2019 file photo.

This year’s Memorial Day weekend will be different in several ways in Milledgeville and Baldwin County.

There will be no public events honoring those who so courageously gave their lives defending America during wartimes due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Before anyone ever thought about a pandemic disruption, crowds gathered every year for a Memorial Day tribute to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice with their lives defending the freedoms enjoyed today by every American.

This year there are no local or statewide events planned on Memorial Day.

COVID-19 has canceled the annual events that normally take place at the Georgia Veterans Memorial Cemetery, just outside of Milledgeville.

Linda Lavender, who serves as director of the Georgia Veterans Memorial Cemetery, told The Union-Recorder on Wednesday that the scheduled events are canceled due to the pandemic.

Lavender said family members and others can still come to the cemetery to honor their loved ones or a friend on Memorial Day, but there are no public gatherings or events this year.

Lavender said the official decision to cancel this year’s event was made about a week ago.

A giant American flag that waves on breezy days near the entrance of the Georgia War Veterans Cemetery near Milledgeville will be raised in a brief ceremony at noon on Monday to honor the men and women buried there, Lavender said.

“Those of us on the staff here will participate in the flag ceremony,” Lavender said. “But there will be no public gathering.”

Georgia Department of Veterans Service Commissioner Mike Roby is asking every Georgian, young and old alike, to help honor those who died in service to the nation on Memorial Day.

“Please take a moment to pause and remember our fallen heroes who gave their lives in service to our nation and say, ‘Thank you,’” Roby said in a press release Wednesday. “They will never be forgotten. May God bless our fallen service members, our current active duty service members, their families, and the United States of America.”

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