Kewaunee County cancels Memorial Day program due to COVID-19 but Legion posts plan events
KEWAUNEE – The annual Memorial Day parade and wreath laying ceremony in Kewaunee is canceled because of public health concerns over COVID-19, but several of the county's American Legion posts are holding ceremonies this weekend to honor and remember local deceased veterans of the U.S. military.
The Kewaunee County Veteran’s Service Office, which helps organize the annual events, said although the parade through the city and special program at the War Memorial at the county courthouse are off this year, local veterans' organizations are placing American flags at each deceased veteran’s grave in the two city cemeteries, Riverview and Holy Rosary, during the week.
“Our veterans remain in our hearts and their families in our prayers,” said Robert Stearns, Kewaunee County Veterans Service Officer. “We are still here to assist families and friends providing services to those in need. Next year, our office will again resume the normal remembrance at the War Memorial, where I will read the names of those that we lost last year and this year.”
However, Robinson American Legion Post 538 of Carlton, Ernest Haucke American Legion Post 236 of Algoma and Ralph Kline Post 262 of Luxemburg will conduct events while trying to implement best practices to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Sunday morning, Post 538 will honor veterans at rest in eight rural cemeteries, as it has done for several years. The ceremony at each cemetery will have a prayer from the post chaplain, a short speech, a roll call of the veterans interred in each with a bell ringing after each name, a 21-gun salute and playing of "Taps." Three flag bearers will present the U.S., Legion and POW-MIA flags.
Larry Ihlenfeldt of Post 538 said participating Legion members will practice safe social distancing during the ceremonies, but members don't have to take part if they wouldn't feel safe. Ihlenfeldt also encouraged members of the public in attendance to do the same.
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The cemetery visits start at 8 a.m. Sunday at St. John Nepomucene Cemetery in the Town of Krok, then proceed to St. Peter's Lutheran Cemetery and Volunteer Cemetery, both in Carlton; St. Hedwig's Catholic Cemetery in East Krok; West Kewaunee United Methodist Church; St Joseph's Catholic Cemetery in Norman (Town of Carlton); Forest View Cemetery in Carlton; and Franklin Norwegian Cemetery on County AB north of Tisch Mills.
For more information, call 920-388-3059 or 920-255-8708.
In Algoma, the city and Post 236 canceled its parade and activities at Legion Park, but the post is making a special video program that will be posted online and available for viewing Memorial Day.
The video will feature guest speakers, the reading of names of Algoma veterans who passed away during the last year, a salute by the Algoma Honor Guard, and more. It will air Monday on the Algoma city cable channel 981 and be posted to the "Ernest Haucke American Legion Post 236" Facebook page and on YouTube.
In addition, flags will be placed at the graves of veterans in the Algoma area's seven cemeteries and the Honor Guard will fire a salute at those cemeteries Monday morning. The reading of names will not take place at the cemeteries because it's being done on the video.
In Luxemburg, Post 262 is sending two squads of Legion members in separate directions to area cemeteries Monday morning for short ceremonies consisting of a short prayer, a volley firing and the sounding of "Taps."
Post Commander Dennis Langteau said the squads will be smaller than usual — four members each, traveling separately — and any members of the public who attend also are asked to practice social distancing.
One squad will visit St. Thomas the Apostle in Sugar Bush, St. Mary's in Humboldt, St. Killian in New Franken, St. Joseph in Pilsen, St. Paul in Ellisville and St. Mary's in Luxemburg. The other will visit St. John in Luxemburg, St. Odile in Thiry Daems, St. Francis de Paul in Duvall, St. Louis in Dyckesville, Robinson Presbyterian in Champion, St. Joseph's in Champion, St. Martin's in Tonet, St. Amand in Walhain and French Spiritualist in Walhain.
The usual post-cemetery programs at the Veteran's Memorial at the Bank of Luxemburg and the Community Center will not be held.
For more information on these and other veterans' concerns, call the Kewaunee County Veterans Service Office at 920-388-7198.
Contact Christopher Clough at 920-741-7952, 920-562-8900 or [email protected].
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: Kewaunee County cancels Memorial Day program due to COVID-19 but Legion posts plan events