Pandemic changes Memorial Day ceremonies

Coronavirus New Mexico

NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Memorial day is a day to honor fallen servicemen and women, but this year looks different because of the global pandemic. Usually, thousands of people fill the New Mexico Veterans Memorial Park, on Memorial Day, but Monday it was much quieter.

“I’m kind of used to it being a little louder, that’s what I miss today, it’s too quiet,” said Russ Aken, a Navy Veteran who was visiting the Memorial Park on Louisiana and Gibson. There’s usually patriotic music, and crowds filling the amphitheater to honor those fallen heroes, but the park was quiet and the amphitheater seats, empty.

The Santa Fe National Cemetery hosted their annual ceremony online instead of in person, to comply with social distancing guidelines. Rio Rancho also hosted a virtual ceremony, along with the American Legion Post 49.

The change in plans is not stopping people from paying their respects. New Mexico’s 44th Army Band, did something unique for Memorial Day. They teamed up with each branch of the military to release a virtual collaboration of the Armed Forces Medley.

“We usually participate in the Memorial Day Ceremony up in Angel Fire, but because of all this going on, we weren’t able to. We wanted to put something together for Memorial Day so we came up with this idea to collaborate with the other branches,” said Sgt. Paul Gibson, the producer of the Youtube video.

The virtual medley is the first project of its kind in history. They just released it Monday morning on Youtube, so far it’s gotten nearly 400 views. The Roadrunner Convoy – Military Vehicle Preservation Association was at the New Mexico Veterans Memorial Monday morning. They did a drive through the park to commemorate the day.

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