People honor Memorial Day differently this year

Coronavirus New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – This Memorial Day during a pandemic looked a lot different as people honored those who have lost their lives fighting for our country. Traditional ceremonies were canceled or moved online, so people came up with new ways to spend this Memorial Day.

Michael Metz remembers his grandfather, Army veteran Robert Slater. At 3 p.m., the bugler played taps outside his Albuquerque home to pay tribute to the fallen while maintaining social distancing guidelines. “It is a lot different,” Metz said. “Normally for Memorial Day, you are playing for a large crowd and large event.”

People are finding new ways this year to remember the lives lost fighting for our country. The Santa Fe National Cemetery’s ceremony was not open to the public and broadcasted online. “We miss you being here with us,” a speaker said. “Know that we are still moving forward to honor, celebrate and solemnly remember those who have courageously sacrificed to preserve our freedom.”

Rio Rancho hosted a virtual ceremony too, along with American Legion Post 49. Some veterans still made their annual trip to the New Mexico Veteran’s Memorial Park in Albuquerque. “I am used to it being a little bit louder,” Navy veteran Russ Akens said. “That is a lot of what I miss today. It is too quiet.”

While Metz said it is new for him to be playing taps from home, he said the most important thing is to remember people like his grandfather. “It is very important and something that will bring unity and much-needed togetherness for the military members and their families,” Metz said. “It is something I plan on continuing every year.”

Metz also played taps Monday at his grandfather’s gravesite and at the ceremony in Rio Rancho. People all over the country also joined Metz at 3 p.m. playing taps in their yards. CBS News “On the Road” correspondent, Steve Hartman, asked people last week to take part in Taps Across America to keep the spirit of the holiday alive.

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