Memorial Day ceremonies modified due to COVID-19

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MILLEDGEVILLE, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) — Memorial Day in Middle Georgia is being celebrated differently this year because of COVID-19.

Every year since the Georgia Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Milledgeville opened in 2001, there has been a Memorial Day ceremony in honor of those who fought for our country.

However, cemetery director Linda Lavender says the 2020 event was canceled for the first time ever due to COVID-19.

“It was a hard decision,” she said. “We made the decision about two weeks ago that we wouldn’t have a Memorial Day program. We wanted to follow the regulations and keep everyone safe.”

Lavender says the cemetery is still honoring veterans, but in different way. They are still placing flags in front of the headstones, and the cemetery is open for people to pay their respects.

In a statement from the Department of Veteran Services, it says in part:

“On Monday, May 25th, we encourage all Georgians, young and old to honor those who died in service to our nation.”

Lavender says to do so, even if you can’t make it to the cemetery.

“Say thank you. We have not forgotten you. I think that’s the best way. Stop and remember the sacrifices our veterans made for us,” she said.

The Carl Vinson VA Medical Center put together videos to honor veterans on Memorial Day. Those videos will be available on the VA’s Facebook page Monday morning.

The cemetery is still open every day from 8 a.m. until dark.

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Tanya comes all the way from Chicago, Illinois. She’s a city girl that’s excited to be a part of Middle Georgia’s community and tell your stories! She received a degree in Broadcast Journalism from Columbia College Chicago. She also spent a few semesters studying at San Diego State University. While in college, she interviewed Joan Rivers before she passed away, was on the red carpet for the movie premiere of “Chiraq” and also interned with ABC7’s investigative reporters and Bill Kurtis. Tanya spent nearly 2 years reporting in Billings, Montana where she covered a lot of politics and agriculture. In her spare time, Tanya is a sports fanatic, so even though the Chicago Bears and Bulls didn’t know how to win this season, she still roots for them. You can guarantee you’ll run into her at the gym every day. If you do, stop by and say hi! Share your stories with her and don’t be surprised if she’s hiding chocolate chip cookies in her gym bag.